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The Argentine has stated that he has a lot of respect for the former Inter tactician, ahead of the meeting between the sides at Estadi Cornella-El Prat

Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino has declared his admiration for Jose Mourinho, with the Catalan club set to meet Real Madrid on Sunday evening.

The Barcelona-based side currently sit in 10th place in La Liga, and will be hoping to maintain their 100 per cent home record this campaign when they meet the 2011 Copa del Rey winners.

Pochettino, who has been in charge of the club since January 2009, is looking forward to pitting his wits against Mourinho this weekend.

"I do like Mourinho. I have a lot of respect for him and his personality is something that stands out," the former centre-half told Spanish television station Cuatro in an interview.

The 39-year-old tactician also defended Cristiano Ronaldo, who has come in for some criticism recently for his controversial beliefs of why people dislike him.

"People who are successful always find it difficult to get fans on their side, but I think a lot of people follow him and want him to do well," he added.

Pochettino was also questioned on who he would prefer to win La Liga this season, with the Argentine unsurprisingly stating he does not want the club's Catalan rivals to defend their title.

"I want any team but Barcelona to win as it would give us a different champion," he revealed.

Espanyol lost 3-1 at Levante last weekend, with Jordi Amat and Walter Pandiani both earning red cards.