Copa Del Rey

New Espanyol coach "proud" of draw with Barca

January 22, 2009

New Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino is confident of happier times ahead for the struggling Catalan club if they can repeat the showing they produced against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey.

Although they failed to score themselves in the 0-0 quarter-final first leg draw, Espanyol made things tough for all-conquering Barca and became the first team since August to keep their local rivals goalless in a match.

It may not have been a winning start for Pochettino, who only replaced the sacked Jose Manuel Esnal on Tuesday, but the former Espanyol defender was delighted with his side's display as they put their relegation troubles in La Liga to one side.

"I'm very proud of the work done by the team. They have shown that they want to wear this shirt and have shown they are a real team," said the 36-year-old Argentinian.

"I also want to thank the work of my assistants and the support of the fans. This is the commitment and enthusiasm that I want.

"The players have returned to feeling like players and, more so than the result, because in football you can win, draw or lose, I'm pleased with the spirit that this team have shown."

Espanyol's next match pitches them against Real Valladolid in La Liga this weekend, when Pochettino will hope his 18th-placed side can bridge some of the five-point gap that separates them from the positions of safety.