Media Watch

Media Watch: City packed with quality - Mourinho

Media Watch: City packed with quality - Mourinho
With the January transfer window having slammed shut, Saturday’s headlines are firmly focused on City’s Premier League assignment away at Tottenham tomorrow.

It brings rival managers Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho up against each other once more and the Spurs boss reveals he is full of admiration for the all-round strength of the City squad.

There are also predictions for the game, a look at City’s possible line-up and more fascinating recollections from Nick Cushing ahead of his final game in charge for City’s Women at home to Arsenal tomorrow.

News

Manchester Evening NewsCity packed with quality, says Mourinho 

Daniel Murphy: "City travel to North London to lock horns with the top-four chasers, just a few days after their 1-0 defeat in the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Manchester United - when they won 3-2 on aggregate.

"That could mean that there is some tired legs among the City squad, up against a Spurs side that has had time to rest following last weekend's FA Cup fourth round clash with Southampton.

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"However, Mourinho does not consider this to be an advantage as he feels that City's squad is full of talent and that Guardiola does not have any lesser options within his side.

"Apart from that, I think they have 20 players the same quality. For me to play Walker or Cancelo, to play Otamendi or Laporte, to play Aguero or Jesus, to play Bernardo Silva or David Silva, this is the kind of squad that I think they could play four matches a week and the quality would be the same."

City go into the weekend 19 points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool, a deficit that could extend to 22 points on Saturday if Liverpool beat Southampton at Anfield.

sportsmole.co.ukHow City could line up against Spurs

Pep Guardiola revealed during Friday's press conference that while Leroy Sane was making excellent progress in his recovery from a knee injury, the Germany international would not be involved this weekend.

Aymeric Laporte and Fernandinho are both expected to shake off muscular fatigue to feature, though, with the pair set to start at the heart of the away side's defence.

Oleksandr Zinchenko could get the nod over both Joao Cancelo and Benjamin Mendy at left-back, while Ilkay Gundogan is expected to keep his spot in the middle of the park.

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Gabriel Jesus will be hoping for a spot in the XI, but it would not be a surprise to see Riyad Mahrez, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero selected as the front three on Sunday afternoon.

Kevin de Bruyne and Rodri are certain starters in midfield, while Ederson will return between the sticks having been left on the bench for Wednesday's EFL Cup clash with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side.

Predictions

bbc.comMark Lawrenson

"I just think that after seeing City get beaten by United in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, their manager Pep Guardiola will have them at it for this one.

"Spurs have a decent record against City in the recent past but, without the injured Harry Kane, they are just not firing properly at the moment."

"City boss Pep Guardiola has got to be thinking about the first leg of their Champions League tie against Real Madrid at the end of February, because it is coming up fast.

"That competition is so open, it could be anyone's - including City's.

"Guardiola has been experimenting with different formations in recent weeks but I think he needs to start by picking his best team, and stick with it.

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"If he does that, then I don't think City will have any problems creating chances against Spurs - and, if they take them, they will win."

Prediction: Spurs 0-2 City

skysports.comCharlie Nicholas

"Tottenham got an amazing deal with £16m for Christian Eriksen. I thought Inter Milan would wait until the summer. They have got out of jail with that, but you cannot get out of jail with their defence, even with Hugo Lloris back.

"They are sapped of all energy and Eric Dier looks like he is running through treacle. Why have they brought a winger in Steven Bergwijn ? They have it all wrong. This is not a Jose Mourinho signing. This is about business and bringing in some money.

"Can Jose get them to the top four? I am not sure. Man City on the other hand, have been racking up some goals. Leroy Sane is back in training but Aymeric Laporte is back - what a massive boost that is.

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"Raheem Sterling has been so quiet but he is ready to spark at some point and he does like a London trip, so this could be the one for him."

Prediction: Spurs 1-3 City

Betvictor.comMichael Owen

"Spurs limped over the line to beat Norwich on home soil in their last league game, but I don’t think they will be a match for City back at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday.

"You must go back to October 2016 for the last time Spurs beat City in the Premier League, although they did famously knock City out of the Champions League on away goals last season.

"The sides shared four-goals at the Etihad in the reverse fixture earlier in the season, but if there are four goals again in the capital on Sunday, I believe City will pick up the lion’s share."

Prediction: City to win and both teams to score

From the managers

the guardianCushing plays down sentiment ahead of farewell

Suzanne Wrack: “It is a bit like being in the congregation at your own funeral,” Nick Cushing said as he reflected on his long Manchester City goodbye. The manager leaves for the MLS side New York City after Sunday’s Women’s Super League game at home to title rivals Arsenal and the praise has come thick and fast.

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“I don’t want to big him up too much because he might listen to this,” Jill Scott said with a grin, “but I do actually think he is a genius when it comes to football. I really do. The way you can see his mind working, the way he sees things and changes things on the spot; it’s not easy to do and he’s definitely someone I look up to as a coach.”

"Georgia Stanway, recruited by Cushing from Blackburn’s academy at 16, is similarly effusive. “He’s definitely out and out the best manager I’ve had,” she said. “His technical detail, his tactical detail, is ridiculous. It’s crazy how we’re able to get one up on an opponent halfway through a game. He’s so quick in the way he thinks.”

Cushing seems genuinely humbled. “It’s really nice to hear people say nice things. It’s strange because I’m not trying to sensationalise … I just felt like I’ve done my job."

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