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Mourinho's words inspire Pochettino

updated 3:30 PM EST, Fri January 18, 2013
Mauricio Pochettino has been appointed as the new manager of Premier League club Southampton.
Mauricio Pochettino has been appointed as the new manager of Premier League club Southampton.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mauricio Pochettino has been named as the new manager of Southampton
  • Argentine replaces Nigel Adkins and will take charge of Monday's game against Everton
  • Pochettino revealed he spoke to Jose Mourinho about taking Premier League job
  • Alex Ferguson and Rafa Benitez express shock at Adkins' sacking

(CNN) -- Jose Mourinho, the self-anointed 'Special One', has been hailed as the man who convinced Mauricio Pochettino to make the move to the Premier League and take the reins at Southampton.

Real Madrid manager Mourinho, who enjoyed a hugely successful time with Chelsea, gave Pochettino a few words of wisdom on life in the Premier League.

The Argentine, who was appointed Friday following the removal of Nigel Adkins, has previously managed Espanyol in Spain and will take charge of his first game against Everton on Monday.

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"I am very passionate about the Premier League," the 40-year-old told reporters.

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"I have seen many games, the Premier League is an attractive league and I have spoken to people at length about it, people such as Jose Mourinho, who is a good friend of mine.

"He told me the best football in the world is being played here. How the league is structured there's a lot of respect towards the other clubs and that has only convinced me to come here, aside from the project that Southampton have offered me, the chance to work in this league I am very happy about."

The move comes as something as a surprise given Southampton's recent good form, which included a fine comeback to draw 2-2 at Chelsea in its last match.

Adkins, 47, arrived at the club when it was second bottom in the third tier before winning successive promotions to reach the Premier League.

The club is currently 15th with a three-point lead over the teams in the relegation zone.

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Executive chairman Nicola Cortese has been criticized by supporters for the ousting of Adkins with fans taking to Twitter to register their disgust.

But journalist Gordon Simpson, who covers the club for the Southampton Echo newspaper, says Cortese's decision will ultimately be judged on results.

"The decision to sack Nigel Adkins has obviously come as a shock to many Saints fans," Simpson told CNN.

"It is not a complete surprise, however. It has been rumoured for some time that the chairman, Nicola Cortese, has been considering a change and there has been a sense for a while at St Mary's that Adkins has been living on borrowed time.

"Adkins is an enormously popular figure with the supporters here, and as you can imagine the news has been largely met with a degree of hostility and sadness.

"The timing is certainly strange, with the club having enjoyed a fine series of results and performances in recent months -- two defeats in 12 Premier League games tells its own story.

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"Obviously, Cortese's decision will ultimately be judged on results. If the club continues to move forward under new manager Mauricio Pochettino's guidance then he will feel vindicated and supporters will quickly come to accept the change.

"But Saints' season is delicately balanced right now, and if results start to regress then the anger and frustration emanating from much of the fan base will only heighten."

Bielsa

Pochettino, who represented Espanyol and Paris Saint-Germain as a player, won 20 caps for Argentina at international level.

Known for his readiness to use young players, he learnt his trade as a 16-year-old under the watchful eye of current Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa during their time together at Newell's Old Boys in his native Argentina.

While at Espanyol, he took a club struggling at the wrong end of La Liga before establishing them as a competitive mid-table team by using the products of an impressive youth system.

Southampton has a good history of blooding young players with Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain just a few to have progressed through the ranks in recent years.

Youth

According to David Cartlidge, Spanish football correspondent for Mirror Football, Pochettino's work with the youth players at Espanyol produced excellent results.

"Mauricio Pochettino's work with the youngsters at Espanyol was perhaps his most accomplished work while in Spain," Cartlidge told CNN.

"He understood very well the financial rigours placed upon his club, and reacted by developing a close relationship between them and first team.

"During his four year spell, 23 players were promoted from the youth set-up, the youngest being Paul Quaye, at just 16 years old.

"Not only did he develop players for Espanyol's own gains on the field, but off it too, as several were sold on for considerable profit.

"He would spend hours at Espanyol Sports Complex, going through videos and recording warm-ups to get insight on players.

"But he would also spend time with the young players, working with them just as he did with the first team, making them feel part of things."

Walcott

Meanwhile, former Southampton star Walcott has signed a new long-term deal with Arsenal.

The England international had been linked with a move away from the club, but has put pen to paper following lengthy negotiations.

The 23-year-old told the club's official website: "I have made it clear from the start that I wanted to stay at Arsenal so I am pleased we have agreed a deal that everyone is happy with. What's important now is for the team to realise its potential and win trophies."

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