‘Beating Osasuna is critical’

Espanyol can take a ‘step forward’ in their season with three points over Osasuna at the weekend, says Coach Mauricio Pochettino.

The Catalans welcome Jose Luis Mendilibar’s struggling side to Cornella-El Prat this Saturday in a crunch early-season relegation clash.

“Winning at Osasuna on Saturday would be an important step for the future. It is a critical juncture for the aspirations of the team,” commented Pochettino, whose side have turned a corner of late and go into the match undefeated from their last four.

“That is what I am telling my players, so they work in the same way. I believe we have come to the end of this bad run of form.

“The team has confidence and strength and it shows. We believe in what we do and always work towards avoiding repeating the mistakes made at the beginning of the season.

“We knew we needed to chain together a string of results so as not to fall further behind and the work was constant, even if we were not doing well at the start. This is credit to the whole team, who have always had faith in what they were doing.”

For their recent experiences as the bottom side, Pochettino believes Espanyol must show current 20th-placed Osasuna full respect.

“You have to respect them. We will find them as a team that is not only dangerous for their current situation, but also because they have players who are fully committed.

“They have quality players, they are intense and they pressurise a great deal. I think they are a good team.

“It doesn’t matter if we win in the first half, the second half or both, the key now is to win games.”

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