Coach Pochettino on brink of leaving Espanyol

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By Dermott Corrigan, Spain Correspondent

Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino could become the first Primera Division coach to leave his job this season, with a decision over his future reportedly due on Monday afternoon.

Mauricio Pochettino may pay the price for Espanyol's disappointing start to the season

GettyImagesMauricio Pochettino may pay the price for Espanyol's disappointing start to the season

Pochettino said after Saturday's embarrassing 3-0 home loss to fellow strugglers Osasuna that he would "reflect deeply on everything" and is due to meet with Espanyol chief executive Joan Collet, according to Catalan daily Mundo Deportivo. The Barcelona-based club now sit 19th in the table with just nine points from eleven games.

"The defeat has damaged us and hit the self-esteem of everyone," Pochettino said on Saturday. "The image was bad, we were not at the height we should be, and did not get into the game. We were always chasing the game. It is normal that the coach takes the responsibility. There is atmosphere all around the club, and a certain fatigue about what is happening."

The Argentine was referring to the complicated boardroom issues at the club, with presidential elections scheduled for next Monday (November 19) and a war of words taking place in the media between past regimes and the new candidates.

Former president Ramon Condal, 75, resigned last month with the club approximately €150 million in debt and majority shareholder Daniel Sanchez Llibre reportedly considering selling his shares. Collet is favourite to become the next president.

Former Pericos centre-back Pochettino stepped up to first team coach in 2009, initially impressing by building a young exciting team on limited resources, and was even spoken about as a potential successor to Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid. But results have slumped over the last 12 months, with key players being sold both for financial reasons and after falling out with Pochettino, who almost left to take over at Serie A side Sampdoria last summer.

Reports in the Spanish and Catalan press have placed currently out of work Ernesto Valverde, who coached Espanyol to the 2007 UEFA Cup final, and former Mexico, Atletico Madrid and Real Zaragoza boss Javier Aguirre, as potential replacements ahead of next weekend's La Liga trip to Valencia.

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