Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola referred to Tottenham Hotspur as the “Harry Kane team” in October, but six months on he is full of praise for the North Londoners.
The Citizens travel to Wembley tomorrow night knowing a win will put them on the brink of their third Premier League title, while another loss will bring about City’s longest run of defeats in 12 seasons.
It’s been a tough last couple of weeks for Guardiola and City, three defeats in the space of eight days at the hands of Liverpool on two occasions either side of a Derby Day loss has seen them exit the Champions League and has put their title celebrations on hold.
Tomorrow they face a team in fine form, Mauricio Pochettino’s side are unbeaten in the league since they were mauled 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium in December in the corresponding fixture.
“Tottenham is a fantastic team, they have great pressure,” Guardiola said.
“They have been playing great with a lot of success in the last two, three seasons and are in the semi-final of the FA Cup this season. It is going to be a difficult game for us.”
City will be especially wary of the threat of Kane, who is the Premier League’s second top scorer with 25 Premier League goals this term.
Sergio Aguero is the league’s third top scorer on 21, but Guardiola confirmed his leading marksman will not be fit.
“Aguero is injured. He was injured before the game but made a huge effort to help us for 10 to 15 minutes.
“He made a huge effort after the [Ashley] Young tackle; he played the last 20 minutes [against Liverpool] then said he couldn’t run.
“I don’t know about Swansea but hopefully he will be ready for the last games and the World Cup.”
The Argentine was on target in City’s last win away to Spurs at White Hart Lane in May 2015, but since then City have lost their last two visits away to Spurs, conceding six goals.
Tomorrow will be the first time Spurs have hosted City in a league match at Wembley, a ground Guardiola has fond memories of – lifting the European Cup as a player and manager with Barcelona, and winning the League Cup with City just seven weeks ago.
He’s close to more silverware, and a win this weekend would put them just two points away from wrapping up the league title should United beat West Brom on Sunday.
“Try to be who we were and thinking we need five points. We are 13 points plus goal difference in front for a reason,” said Guardiola.