By Harry Sykes
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has delivered Tottenham a big compliment by claiming they are the only team to have outplayed his side this season.
City have lost five Premier League matches and were thrashed 4-0 by Barcelona in the Champions League group stages in October.
But Guardiola has claimed that Spurs are the only direct opponent who have performed better in a match this season since he took the Etihad Stadium reins.
Mauricio Pochettino’s outfit beat City 2-0 at White Hart Lane on 2 October after the visitors had began the season in tremendous form and were immediately installed as title favourites.
However, the biggest defeats for Guardiola’s team have come against Barcelona and Everton, who followed the Spanish team by thrashing City 4-0 in one of the upsets of the season at Goodison Park on Sunday.
“At White Hart Lane Tottenham were much better,” Guardiola said, as quoted by the Evening Standard. “In the other games I don’t feel that feeling that the opponents were much better.
“In football, like in basketball, like in tennis, you have to put the ball inside the net. In the balance of how you create, how you concede, they punish us.”
Guardiola’s comment will especially delight the Tottenham fanbase, given that the Spaniard, 45, is regarded as the pre-eminent manager of his generation and is a serial trophy winner at former clubs Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
City host Spurs at Etihad Stadium on Saturday evening in a clash that was expected to pit rival title challengers, although Guardiola has conceded the league by claiming the 10-point gap behind leaders Chelsea is too substantial to narrow.
By contrast, Pochettino’s team are flying high on the back of six consecutive league wins in which they have scored 19 goals and conceded three.
Spurs have climbed to second in the table, although they are seven points adrift of Chelsea.
In other Tottenham transfer news, a striker has signed after Spurs agreed terms.