By 90Min
October 02, 2018

Mauricio Pochettino has categorically ruled out the possibility of ever managing Barcelona, saying that his close ties to city rivals Espanyol would make it "impossible".

Pochettino comes up against Barcelona in a competitive match for the first time since 2012 on Wednesday, as Tottenham host Ernesto Valverde's team at Wembley in the Champions League.

The last time he faced Barcelona was as the manager of Espanyol, a role he held between 2009 and 2012. Before that, Pochettino had spent a large chunk of his playing career with Los Periquitos, playing over 300 matches for the club across two separate spells.

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Ahead of Wednesday's match, Pochettino spoke to Marca about his Espanyol ties and the impossibility of ever taking over at the Nou Camp.

"[Facing Barca] motivates me, being an Espanyol fan and living for so many years in Barcelona," Pochettino said.

"It's something that is more than understood [that I will never manage Barcelona]. I have a lot of friends in Barcelona, who are from the Blaugrana and to whom I have enormous respect, but my path and that of Barcelona are different, opposite directions, and coaching there would be impossible."

Pochettino faced a Barcelona team at the peak of its powers when he was manager of Espanyol, although he did become the first Espanyol manager to win a league match at the Nou Camp in 27 years.

The Barca side Tottenham host on Wednesday does not carry the same invincible aura of that 2012 team, having gone three league games without a win. They did thrash PSV Eindhoven 4-0 in their opening group match though, with Lionel Messi scoring a hat-trick.

Tottenham lost their first match in Group B as they conceded twice in the last five minutes against Inter at the San Siro to leave them facing an uphill challenge in the group stage of the competition.

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