New Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino is adamant he can win over the club’s fans after replacing Nigel Adkins on Friday.
The former Espanyol coach has received a hostile welcome from Southampton supporters who believe his swift appointment to be a sign of unfair treatment against their former boss.
But the 40-year-old insists he can win over the Saints’ faithful through ‘honest and hard work’, and said he is very happy to be taking on his new project.
“The challenge is to be part of this project, the kindness of the supporters is the biggest challenge I have,” Pochettino told reporters.
“They are the biggest part of this club and I hope I can convince them with honest and hard work.
“I am very happy to be here in this amazing weather. It happened quickly, small details are not important, it’s important I’m here at this project and club.”
Pochettino expressed admiration for Southampton’s achievements so far this season, while also revealing that Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho had recommended the Premier League to him as an exciting place to manage.
“They have done really well in the (Premier League). In Spain we follow it closely. I am a great admirer of English football and am happy to be here,” he said.
“I am very passionate about the Premier League. 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.”
Meanwhile, Pochettino eased worries he may not be up to date with the current Saints’ squad, revealing he had been researching the team for a significant period before joining the club.
“I know about the squad because I’ve been researching them for several weeks,” he said.
“It’s not important when I was approached about the job, I’m just very excited to be here.”