Football

Pellegrini: Spurs are no softies

PHOTO: AFP

Manuel Pellegrini has warned that Manchester City will be facing a different Tottenham to the side that rolled over twice against the Premier League champions last season.

City triumphed 6-0 at home and 5-1 at White Hart Lane against Spurs in the last campaign, but the Londoners have made a promising start under Mauricio Pochettino.

Pellegrini said that he has admired Pochettino as an adversary both when the Argentinian was at Espanyol and at Southampton, and that he did not expect Tottenham to collapse so easily in the lunch-time kick-off today.

"Yes, I am sure it is a different Tottenham," said Pellegrini yesterday.

"Last year one of the best games that we played was against Tottenham away. Here also we played very well but we are not expecting that we can score six or five goals every time we play Tottenham.

"They are a very strong team. Mauricio Pochettino is a very good manager. I'm not saying Villas-Boas wasn't in that moment, but really we played our best last season. We hope on Saturday we can do a very good game also.

"He (Pochettino) is a young manager that was very successful in Spain with Espanyol, it was a team that always played good and attractive football and it was a creative team.

"He is trying the same way he did it last season at Southampton. They were a team that played very well, he continues now at Tottenham that is an important club with big players."

Eliaquim Mangala is set to miss out against Spurs with a thigh injury.

TOURE BOOST

The defender was an unused substitute for France in midweek and should be fit for City's Champions League match in Moscow on Tuesday.

Pellegrini said that Yaya Toure was in contention for a place despite playing for the Ivory Coast in a 4-3 home defeat by DR Congo on Wednesday, with the midfielder returning to Manchester on Thursday.

All the other City players are fit, apart from Samir Nasri who is still recovering from groin surgery.

Meanwhile, Tottenham boss Pochettino (above) insisted that he is happy with Christian Eriksen after Denmark coach Morten Olsen's stinging criticism of the playmaker.

Olsen accused Eriksen of lacking impact on the field following the Euro 2016 qualifying loss to Portugal, but Pochettino has no such concerns.

"It's his (Olsen's) problem, not my problem," Pochettino said.

"My problem is to keep my players at a good level. I am very happy with Christian Eriksen. He's a very good professional. His commitment with the team, with the club, is full.

"I think he's consistent and I'm happy with his performances this season."

Pochettino places no significance on last season's heavy defeats to City.

"The reality is I don't remember the results," he said. "This is another season, another philosophy, another game and we need to arrive on Saturday with the idea to believe in our philosophy and style and try to get the points.

"It's not important now to think in the past. It's important to look forward."

- PA Sport.

Yes, I am sure it is a different Tottenham. Mauricio Pochettino is a very good manager.

— Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini