New Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino has said he is ‘very passionate’ about the Premier League as he prepares to make his managerial bow in English football.
However, he will learn just how good a league it is when Everton visit St Marys’ on Monday night.
But having spoken to friend Jose Mourinho, he is relishing testing himself in the top flight, particularly as he has been impressed by his new surroundings already.
Speaking at his unveiling, the former Argentina centre half – who left previous club Espanyol in November - said that he had been a fan of the Premier League before he replaced outgoing manager Nigel Adkins.
“I know a lot about the Premier League and I know that Southampton have done really well,” he said.
“In Spain we follow it (the Premier League) closely. I am a great admirer of English football and I am happy to be here.
“I am very passionate about the Premier League. I have seen many games, it 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.”
That project begins against the Blues, and Pochettino is under no illusions concerning the size of the task ahead of him and his players. However, he believes he has the tools to cement Southampton’s place in next season’s campaign.
“I’m an aggressive manager, in the positive sense,” he continued. “I like to play dynamic, pressure football with an attacking nature that the fans can be proud of watching their team.
“I have the best first impression already and I have been pleased with the professionalism shown at all levels of the club.
“The biggest challenge is to win all the games that are ahead of us. That is the mentality that we need to have going into the games as a team.”