It’s fair to say Pep Guardiola has acclimatised rather well to English football. Just over a month into the season and the Spaniard already has 10 wins under his belt.
In fact, Celtic became the first team to hold Manchester City this season in a thrilling 3-3 tie on Wednesday. Despite leading on three occasions though, Brendan Rodgers’ men couldn’t crack the electrifying Citizens.
However, Guardiola is of the opinion that he’s not the only world-class boss in the Premier League at the moment. Surprisingly though, his nomination isn’t Jose Mourinho, Arsene Wenger nor Antonio Conte.
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The ex-Barcelona boss is renowned for his odd comments in the media. Already this season, Guardiola has nominated Claudio Bravo’s outing in the Manchester derby as one of the best goalkeeping performances he has ever seen.
Not only this, but the Spaniard has even stated that City have a challenge on their hands to make the top four. A mercurial manager, but a producer of baffling comments in front of the microphone.
This week has seen similarly surprising, if not quite as extreme, remarks.
In light of the Citizens locking horns with Tottenham this weekend, Guardiola has offered his opinion on opposite number Mauricio Pochettino. The Spurs boss is on the end of prominent praise.
“I played against Pochettino as a players and then a coach. I think he’s one of the best managers in the world – I enjoy watching Tottenham,” said Guardiola, via the Guardian.
“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 [Dele] Alli, [Kyle] Walker, [Harry] 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.
“All of the fans who like football and watch football can enjoy [Spurs] – 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.”
There can be little doubting that Pochettino will be pleased with these comments. After all, Guardiola proves a rather sobering source from which to receive such plaudits.
The pair’s history could be the reasoning behind this though. February 2009 saw Pochettino deal Barcelona their first Catalan derby defeat in 27 years during his Espanyol spell.
Consequently, its no surprise Guardiola has such respect for the Argentine. When a manager can command La Liga minnows to a win at the Nou Camp, credit is due.
Whether Pochettino can overcome the ex-Barcelona boss in the Premier League is unknown though. What is for sure however, a trip to White Hart Lane will prove one of Guardiola’s hardest challenges with City yet.
Besides, early in the season or not, you can’t get much bigger than first versus second.
Do you think Manchester City will extend their winning streak at Tottenham this weekend? Have YOUR say in the comment box below
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