Tottenham bigger than Man City, says Pochettino

AFP , Saturday 21 Jan 2017

Tottenham Hotspur's Argentinian head coach Mauricio Pochettino gestures on the touchline during the English FA Cup third round football match between Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa at White Hart Lane in London, on January 8, 2017. (AFP)

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has declared his club have a more storied history and more supporters than Saturday's Premier League opponents Manchester City.

City have won two league titles, two League Cups and one FA Cup since their 2008 takeover by Sheikh Mansour and enrolled superstar manager Pep Guardiola prior to the current campaign.

But with Spurs three places above City in second place, Pochettino says he feels none of the trepidation he felt when taking his former club Espanyol to face Guardiola's all-conquering Barcelona.

"We are talking about Barcelona, one of the best teams in the world," Pochettino told reporters at Spurs' Lilywhite House offices this week.

"The gap was massive. Now, historically, Tottenham is bigger than Manchester City. Fans? Tottenham is bigger.

"But it's true that Manchester City is in a different philosophy. Not a different level, but it's in a completely different way than Tottenham.

"It's a different club. Different philosophy, different business. All is completely different. It's too difficult to measure if there is a gap or not."

While Spurs, who last won the league in 1961, are chasing a seventh successive league win, City are looking to bounce back from last weekend's chastening 4-0 reverse at Everton.

It was the heaviest league defeat of Guardiola's stellar managerial career and left City 10 points below leaders Chelsea in fifth place.

But despite the fact City have already succumbed to defeat five times in the league this season, Pochettino believes Guardiola has lost none of his sheen.

- Scintillating football -

"Guardiola won 21 titles. And still me, none! You cannot compare me with him," he said.

"For me it means nothing for City to lose against Everton. It's not changed my admiration or my thoughts about him.

"I understand in football, sometimes you can win, you can lose. It's a game. Manchester City are in a process now and he needs time.

"He's still in a position that they can win titles. You only need to wait. He doesn't need to show his quality as a coach. He's showed enough before in Barcelona or Bayern Munich.

"You cannot win titles after a few months. You need to wait to the end. I'm sure Guardiola will fight with Manchester City for big things until the end."

It is a neat 50 years since Tottenham last won seven league games on the bounce and with young England stars Harry Kane and Dele Alli to the fore, some of their recent football has been scintillating.

They ended Chelsea's 13-game winning streak with a 2-0 win at White Hart Lane two weeks ago and played West Bromwich Albion off the park in last weekend's 4-0 home victory.

They currently appear the team most capable of chasing down Chelsea's seven-point advantage, but Pochettino does not want any of his players to get ahead of themselves.

"We have unbelievable players, an unbelievable squad, players that feel Tottenham," said the former Southampton manager.

"They only need time and patience. Our objective is to win titles and put the club on the level it deserves."

He added: "It's true that we have very good momentum and we are playing well.

"But in football, today, tomorrow, it can change if you don't keep working hard and (remain) conscious that every day is a moment to improve."

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