Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini expects a far greater challenge from Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham Hotspur side on Saturday despite thrashing them twice last season.
City put 11 goals past Spurs in their two meetings last season and have managed 21 goals in their last six encounters in reply to their opponents’ eight.
However, the London outfit have kept three clean sheets in the first seven league games this season and Pellegrini will not underestimate them.
“This is a different Tottenham,” said 61-year-old at his pre-match press conference. “Last year I think that one of the best games we played was away at Tottenham.
“We can’t expect that we can score five or six every time we play them.
“They are a very strong team. I hope tomorrow we can play as well as we did last season, but it will be a difficult game.”
Tottenham’s new manager has taken them to sixth in the table but in his ten previous encounters with Pellegrini, he has only won one.
“Pochettino is a young manager who was successful with Espanyol,” said the City boss. “He always played good football there. At Southampton his team also played very well, and now he’s trying to do the same at Tottenham.”
Almost all of City’s squad have been away on international duty, with some key players such as Yaya Toure not returning until Thursday.
This left Pellegrini was still unsure of his starting line-up to face Spurs, but assured reporters that he would not be thinking ahead to Tuesday’s Champions League clash with CSKA Moscow.
“We are only thinking about the next game. We know that we have seven games in three competitions until our next break, and it’s very important for us not to drop points.”
Main image courtesy of Alex Morton/Action Images, with thanks.