Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughJust exactly who is Mauricio Pochettino? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Just exactly who is Mauricio Pochettino? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Just exactly who is Mauricio Pochettino?

Many football fans were shocked to see Nigel Adkins sacked by Southampton, but that was only the first surprise at the South Coast club.

Replacing him in the St Mary’s hot-seat is Mauricio Pochettino, a man whose name is far from familiar on these shores.  In fact, one of the only times English fans may have seen the Argentinean is at the 2002 World Cup, where he was adjudged to have fouled Three Lions striker Michael Owen in the box during a group game between England and La Albiceleste.  The resulting spot-kick was converted by David Beckham, ultimately proving to be the deciding factor as England won 1-0.

Despite that, however, Pochettino is virtually unknown to most of the Premier League.  Having never played in the country he now finds himself managing in, his first interview after taking the reins was conducted in Spanish.  As well as being his mother tongue, the language has been used throughout the majority of his career. 

A defender, Pochettino started with Newell’s Old Boys in his homeland before making the move to Europe to play for RCD Espanyol.  He was a key player for the side in his six and-a-half seasons stay, helping the club to win the 2000 Copa del Rey before leaving to join Paris Saint-Germain.  After moving south for a brief stint with Bordeaux, he returned for a second spell with Espanyol, seeing out his playing career with a second Copa del Rey victory at the Catalan club.

Pochettino became manager of Espanyol in January 2009, leading his former side to a comfortable league position in May of that year before finishing just below the European places the next campaign after his first full season in charge.  In 2011/12 the Argentinean coach was unable to match his previous successes, as the team eventually ended up 14th in La Liga.  Relieved of his duties in November, he now has to win over Saints fans after Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese appointed him as the man to replace the popular Nigel Adkins.

Whilst that may be a similar task to that of Rafael Benitez at Chelsea, he faces a completely different challenge to the Spaniard in trying to keep Southampton in the Premier League.