RCD Espanyol have relieved José Manuel Esnal of his duties as coach with the Barcelona-based side lying third from bottom in the Spanish Liga, and appointed former defender Mauricio Pochettino as his replacement.
The 36-year-old former Argentinian international faces a difficult task as he makes his managerial debut with Espanyol stuck in the relegation zone and five points from safety. The club's previous coach Esnal, or Mané as he is commonly known, had overseen six winless Liga games since arriving as a replacement for Bartolomé Márquez at the beginning of December. The club's only victory during the 58-year-old's brief stint in charge came in the Copa del Rey last-16 decider against Spanish second division team Club Polideportivo Ejido.
Pochettino enjoyed two spells at Espanyol as a player where he made 276 league appearances and scored 13 goals while picking up two Copa del Rey winners' medals. The former Paris Saint-Germain FC and FC Girondins de Bordeaux defender will lead his new charges in Wednesday's home meeting with city rivals FC Barcelona in the Copa del Rey quarter-final, first leg.
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