Pochettino: Mourinho is well-loved in BPL

Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino hopes to be pitting his wits against good friend Jose Mourinho next season.

Football News: Jose Mourinho

The Portuguese is expected to leave his post as Real Madrid boss this summer, with a return to former club Chelsea looking increasingly likely.

Mourinho has made no secret of his desire to return to England - and advised Pochettino to do likewise earlier this year.

The former Espanyol boss rejected overtures from other clubs to take the St Mary's helm in January and hopes they will meet in the Barclays Premier League next season.

"I would like him to return to the Premier League," Pochettino said.

"I know that he is well respected and well loved in this league. I know that he likes this league as well.

"Facing the best managers is always a welcome challenge so I would welcome that."

QPR manager Harry Redknapp also welcomed the prospect of Mourinho returning to English football.

"I think he is a fantastic manager and brightens up the Premier League," he said.

"Rafael Benitez has done a great job at Chelsea, I went there last night and saw them and he has done himself no harm with the job he has done there."But it is common knowledge that the Chelsea fans want to see Mourinho back and I think the players probably would. He is a character and a great manager - you look at his record and it is fantastic."

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has a perceived rivalry with Mourinho dating back to 2008, when the Portuguese succeeded him as Inter Milan boss.

Mancini has spoken little of this himself, even when his City side played Real Madrid in the Champions League earlier this season, and did not comment directly about Mourinho at his latest press conference.

The Italian instead suggested Mourinho's return could be one factor in making the top end of the Premier League more competitive.

Mancini said: "I think that it is important that next year there will be four or five teams who can play for the title.

"Not only two, like in the last two years. It is better for the championship. Five teams that fight for the title, I think is good.

"I think next year will be stronger than this year probably. Also Chelsea is a good team this year. We hope Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal can play for the title."

Fulham boss Martin Jol felt Mourinho has always fancied a return to England

He said: "I always knew that he - and he told me and he told other people - would like to come back to England years ago, before he left.

"And I said the same years ago when I left England because this is probably the country with the strongest league.

"Especially in London - Manchester, of course, is a very good city as well - but London is a great football city in Europe.

"I was very happy to come back and he probably feels the same."

Asked if he would rule himself out of a possible shot at the top job at either Manchester club should he return to Chelsea, Jol said: "I can't speculate on that. We could easily say that London is the place to be and they have quite a nice song about it as well.

"But if he goes to Manchester City I could be totally wrong, but I've still got the feeling that if he does comes back, he will come back to London."

Everton manager David Moyes said: "He is a great manager and if he chooses to come back, I think it will be great for the Premier League. But at the moment, you don't know - we are just guessing. Nothing is for sure.

"I think everyone enjoyed him when he was here before and I'm sure if he chooses to come back, you will enjoy him again."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who worked under Mourinho at Stamford Bridge, believes the Portuguese's return would be welcome.

"He will be really looking forward to it if he does come back here," he said.

"He had a wonderful time in England and he loves the country and the passion and he will be a great addition."

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