Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has spoken to the media on Friday afternoon ahead of the weekend’s Premier League clash with Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium.
City are embarking on their third successive home game in a matter of days when Ange Postecoglou’s side make the trip north from the capital on Sunday afternoon, hoping to keep their pursuit of a top-four challenge alive this season.
Last time out it was Champions League duties for Manchester City, who ensured that they will complete the opening phase of the competition as group winners courtesy of a dramatic 3-2 win over RB Leipzig on Tuesday night.
Goals from Erling Haaland, Phil Foden, and Julian Alvarez in the second-half completed a turnaround from 0-2 thanks to a Lois Openda brace to stun the Etihad Stadium, and bring Manchester City back to winning ways following successive Premier League draws.
Last weekend saw Pep Guardiola and his players held to a 1-1 draw with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool in the early Saturday lunchtime kick-off, and they will be hoping to keep the pressure on Arsenal at the top of the league with a victory this time around.
Speaking ahead of Sunday afternoon’s contest with Tottenham, Pep Guardiola delivered a fitness update on his Manchester City squad, invited supporters to attend the fixture, and kept away from re-labelling the ‘Harry Kane team’ following the Englishman’s exit.
Here is every word from Pep Guardiola’s pre-match press conference ahead of the visit of Tottenham Hotspur to the Etihad Stadium this weekend!
On Ange Postecoglou and Tottenham
“He’s already there, in a short time, even the games they didn’t win lately, I’m impressed with how good the things are that they do and the chances they create. Aggressive in all departments. He came here and you recognise perfectly his team.
“Every team plays for the desire of the manager,;what he’s done in Japan and Glasgow with Celtic and now. He makes football a better place, people like Ange (Postecoglou). I enjoy a lot their approach, all the Spurs fans can admit the impact has been quick.”
On whether the Big Six is now a Top Eight
“A more difficult competition to win every season (the Premier League). More teams involved, every game is so difficult. Since I arrived, with (Mauricio) Pochettino, Spurs have been there all the time. A fantastic team. Important absences. But I saw against (Aston) Villa, they create chances. The approach is really good for football.”
On Spurs injury crisis and whether they will attack Manchester City
“Ask him if they change when they play against us, absolutely not. Will not happen, will be surprised. I met him in pre-season playing Yokohama, I saw some clips and I said, ‘Wow’. There are things I like. I told the players, we are not ready because it’s pre-season, but we will face a good team, the build-up, high pressing. We won, all respect to Yokohama but we had better players. Since then I followed him, how good he did in Glasgow. In a short time is there.”
On whether he expects a lot of goals this weekend
“Yes. I encourage fans to come to the stadium, we will have a lot of fun.”
On whether it is difficult to challenge in the first season as manager of a club
“I’m not the right person to give advice, they know the reality they face. If they drop the way they play in the games they lost? No. Quite similar when they were winning. Without (James) Maddison or (Cristian) Romero it’s different. Drop depends on players, but if they drop something or adapt or adjust? No.”
On another year reaching the UEFA Champions League knock-outs
“Many people involved to do that. Many people, the hierarchy at the top, sporting directors, everyone working to do it. That is the reality, people say no, the group is easy. People cannot respect Young Boys or Red Star without seeing one game. If you face tough groups and go through it’s because we have done well. I’m really pleased for that, that many players and managers are involved in that.”
On whether he has been impressed by Kyle Walker this season
“Same guy, involved not as captain. Now the players pick him. More responsibility if there are problems in the locker room he has to resolve it. I’m really pleased for him.”
On Kyle Walker being named as England captain this month
“I’m sure he’ll be happy, born in this country and represent the country. Harry Kane is the captain, he’s not a young lad anymore, lots of experience and titles. He can show it.”
On John Stones’ fitness
“Much better, close to coming back. He’ll be with us, I don’t know if he’ll play but he’ll be there.”
On Mateo Kovacic and Matheus Nunes’ fitness
“Mateo is back, training well. Matheus is the last days (of recovery).”
On facing Ange Postecoglou’s Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan
“The courage, high line, so aggressive. Lot of combinations, use the keeper. Arrive in the sides, so dynamic, doesn’t matter who they play against, do my game. Happened in Glasgow and now here. They lost the last games, but the players know why. Lots of similarities when they were winning. Two reds against Chelsea, bad moments, but they are always positive.”
On Ange Postecoglou saying he copies Pep Guardiola
“It was a joke. I’m not the only manager to play a high line. Belongs to him. Sometimes my full-backs go inside, but they go to the pockets as attacking midfielders, I never used that. A question for him.”
On having previously called Tottenham the Harry Kane team
“I don’t want to do the same mistake (calling them the Son team). What I said before, the influence in the manager is there. (Antonio) Conte at Tottenham, you see they play as he wants. A long pre-season, one game a week, but it’s there.
“Day one, the team. I had the feeling it doesn’t matter the result or opponent, they do what they have to do. An incredible advert for our sport. Two teams, go forward, always nice things to watch. Impossible to not see an interesting game when both teams want to do it.”
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