Pep Guardiola has revealed that he is a huge fan of Mauricio Pochettino and the work he’s undertaken at Spurs.
The pair have history too, having met in La Liga on either side of the FC Barcelona and Espanyol divide, with Pochettino inflicting Barca’s first derby defeat at the Camp Nou for 27 years in February 2009.
Seven years on they clash again and Guardiola believes his City side are in for a tough game in his first ever trip to White Hart Lane but the Catalan is looking forward to the challenge.
Pep told journalists: “I played against Pochettino as a player and then as a coach. I think he’s one of the best managers in the world - I enjoy watching Tottenham.
“He’s doing an amazing job in London at Spurs. The way they play I like a lot - they’re aggressive and have a lot of quality. The basis of the team is the national team with Alli, Walker, Kane - they have a lot of quality. Last season they were there until the last couple of games for the Championship.
“This year they’re playing at a high level - they’re in second position so it will be a tough game and I’m looking forward to going to White Hart Lane for the first time in my life. We will try and do our job.”
Most impressive to Pep is Tottenham’s brand of proactive football.
He added: “All of the fans who like football and watch football can enjoy it - they’re proactive, not reactive.
“There are many teams who wait to see what you do and then react - they don’t wait to see what they’re going to do. They want to create their own game. That’s why I like them. When I saw the last game against CSKA, against Liverpool, against Middlesbrough, I like what I’m watching.”
City drew 3-3 with Celtic last time out and Guardiola believes that his side were slightly unfortunate to drop points.
However, he points to the clinical nature of teams in the Champions League and the uniqueness of the competition as reasons for the result.
“Everything is so difficult in football,” Guardiola reflected.
“I think they arrived three or four chances, they scored three goals - that’s the Champions League. The players are so focused as they know how special the competition is.
“There were many things - the first goal was offside, the second was an own goal - that’s part of the game. I would prefer to lose points in the Premier League as you have time to make them back but the Champions League is short - in the last three games, you have to make four points.
“If not it will be so difficult to go through. It showed us our core principles, our build-up, our high pressing was not good in that game - we have to work on that.”
On De Bruyne and Kompany, Pep said: “We have ten days [after Spurs] which will help us - we need most of them back. The same with Delph. I don’t know - maybe two or three weeks they will be ready. I don’t know if they will be ready for Everton or for Barcelona - we’ll see next time.
“The injuries are not so, so tough as they seemed in the first impression. Usually a muscle injury is a month but we’re going to wait and see.”