MANCHESTER — Pep Guardiola has hailed Mauricio Pochettino as one of the best managers in the world ahead of Manchester City’s trip to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
The City boss is still unbeaten since he took over in the summer and has won his opening six Premier League to open up a four-point gap over second-placed Spurs at the top of the Premier League.
Tottenham ran champions Leicester City close to the title last season and Guardiola believes Pochettino will have improved his side even further this season and will again be contenders.
“I don’t think he’s one of the best managers in England, he’s one of the best football managers in the world,” he told a news conference.
“I enjoy watching Tottenham. Not [just] right now — since last year. I think what he’s doing is an amazing job in London in Tottenham. The way they play I like a lot. He’s aggressive without the ball and has a lot of quality with his players.
“Last season they were there until the last two or three games with the chance to be champions. So still this year they are playing in a high, high level.
“They are second. It will be a tough, tough game and I am looking forward to going to White Hart Lane for the first time in my life as well.”
City will be without injured trio Kevin De Bruyne, Vincent Kompany and Fabian Delph, while winger Nolito is serving the third game of a three-match ban and Yaya Toure will still not be considered for the first team.
Spurs have their own injury issues with Harry Kane ruled out and concerns over Mousa Dembele, Eric Dier, Danny Rose and Moussa Sissoko. But they’ve won five of their six games this month while City have struggled defensively — conceding five goals from their last three games.
However, Guardiola isn’t too concerned about trying to keep clean sheets as long as his side are creating chances.
“Of course to have a clean sheet is perfect, for the goalkeeper, for the team, but the most important thing is how many chances they create,” he added. “That is, I think, the basis.
“When they arrive three times, four times, that’s good. Sometimes they arrive three times, four times and they don’t score goals; sometimes they arrive four times, like the last game against Celtic — the second half they didn’t have any chances, except the first goal in the first minute of the second half — and they score three goals.
“The problem is when they create more chances. For example, in the second half at Old Trafford, they created more chances than Celtic. They didn’t score one goal and Celtic scored three goals. I try to see how many chances they create, how many chances we produce. That is the balance. But of course, we prefer not conceding goals. We’re working on that.”