Blues boss Mark Hughes reckons his team relish playing against attack-minded sides rather than opponents who set out to frustrate – and the facts back him up.
In five games against the ‘Big Four’ this season, City have scored 14 goals, compared with five strikes in five clashes with the less fashionable Hull, Birmingham, Portsmouth, Blackburn and Wigan.
“Tottenham away is a difficult fixture and White Hart Lane is not an easy ground for anyone to go to,” said Hughes. “It’s a challenge for everybody, but not one we’re apprehensive about.”
Playing teams who are more assured and have the confidence to test your ability result in a more open game and those are the type of games we enjoy. Tottenham play attacking football, so it should be a great game.
...Mark Hughes on facing Spurs...
With the Blues currently unbeaten in 13 league and cup games, the City boss admits his team revel against sides that set out to play open, attractive football.
“It’s a game we’re looking forward to and we probably produce our best performances when we go up against teams of Tottenham’s calibre and mindset,” he said.
“Sometimes we come up against sides that set out to make life difficult for you and don’t play a particularly expansive game and it can be difficult to unpick their locks on occasions.
“Playing teams who are more assured and have the confidence to test your ability result in a more open game and those are the type of games we enjoy. Tottenham play attacking football, so it should be a great game.”
The Blues go into tomorrow night’s game without the suspended Craig Bellamy or the injured Shaun Wright-Phillips who picked up an ankle injury at Bolton and is doubtful for the weekend, too.
Emmanuel Adebayor will travel with the squad despite feeling unwell earlier in the week – though he isn’t suffering from swine flu – and Nigel de Jong also trained today and could feature against Spurs.
Hughes believes the North Londoners’ shock home defeat to Wolves on Saturday also proves an old cliché to be very true – there are no easy games in England’s top flight.
“That’s the beauty of the Premier League,” he said. “It’s the strongest domestic league in world football because the top teams can be beaten by the sides near the bottom – that’s why there’s so much interest from around the world in this league.
“On any given Saturday there is always the possibility of a shock or an unexpected result.”
Hughes also believes tomorrow’s opponents are on a similar path to City in terms of progression and squad strength, though the North Londoners aren’t quite put under the media microscope quite as much as the Blues seem to be.
“Spurs have spent a significant amount of money, too, but I think we are judged more on the amount we’ve spent than perhaps Harry is – but there you go,” he smiled.
“But Harry’s a great manager, terrific company and I’ve got a lot of time for him. He’s a real football guy and his team is playing exceptionally well at the moment – it’s a big test for us, but as I said, not one we’re apprehensive about.”