Football: Pep Guardiola salutes kindred spirit Mauricio Pochettino

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (above) praised his Tottenham Hotspur counterpart Mauricio Pochettino, calling him "one of the best managers in the world".
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (above) praised his Tottenham Hotspur counterpart Mauricio Pochettino, calling him "one of the best managers in the world".PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola lavished praise on his Tottenham Hotspur counterpart Mauricio Pochettino on Friday, ahead of their sides' Premier League tussle at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

City top the table after winning their first six games and Tottenham, last season's runners-up, are four points back in second place with the only other unbeaten record in the division.

Pochettino's first win as a coach came against Guardiola, the Argentine's Espanyol stunning Barcelona 2-1 at Camp Nou in February 2009, and the City manager has been an admirer ever since.

"I don't think he's one of the best managers in England - he's one of the best football managers in the world," Guardiola told reporters at City's training centre in Manchester.

"I enjoy watching Tottenham. Not (just) right now - since last year. I think what he's doing is an amazing job. The way they play, I like a lot.

"He's aggressive without the ball, has a lot of quality with his players. The team is the (England) national team, with (Eric) Dier, (Dele) Alli, Harry Kane, (Kyle) Walker. He has a lot of quality."

Guardiola added: "If I had not been a coach, I would be just a fan. I would be a young coach who wants to become a coach, and I see Tottenham and I would say: 'I would like to play that way.'"

City won their first 10 games in all competitions under Guardiola, before failing to win for the first time in Wednesday's 3-3 Champions League draw away to Scottish champions Celtic.

City remain without captain Vincent Kompany, midfielder Fabian Delph and playmaker Kevin de Bruyne due to muscular injuries, but Guardiola gave optimistic updates on their progress.

"We're going to have 10 days without games (due to the international break), which will help us, I hope, because we need all of them," he said. "Maybe two weeks, three weeks, they'll be ready. I don't know if they'll be ready for Everton (on Oct 15), for Barcelona (on Oct 19). I don't know, we're going to see.

"But the injuries are not so tough as in the first impression. They're injured and muscular injuries are always three weeks, one month. But we're going to wait and work with (them) and as soon as possible come back."