Espanyol boss Mauricio Pochettino says he would have been happy to play against the top sides at the beginning of La Liga.
The fixture list for the 2012-13 season was announced on Tuesday and Los Periquitos open proceedings on the weekend of August 18-19 with a trip to face Joaquin Caparros’ Real Mallorca, with Real Zaragoza and Levante the opposition in the next two games.
The Mallorca clash is one in which former Espanyol midfielder Javi Marquez will be up against his old club following his recent transfer to the Islanders, with Sergio Tejera having moved in the opposite direction.
However, Pochettino is adamant he would rather come up against the big guns early on.
“Personally I would have liked to take on the big clubs right from the start,” said the Argentine to Sport.
“Even so, the match with Mallorca will be very special for the two players concerned and also because of what happened this summer, with the politics involved in Marquez’s exit, but despite it being the first game we would have had to face each other sooner or later.”
The first Catalan derby against Barcelona is on the weekend of January 5-6 at the Camp Nou, with the return at Cornella El-Prat, the penultimate League game of the season, scheduled for Wednesday, May 29.