Ominous City send out warning

Manchester City's John Stones stooping to head home against Spurs on Saturday. Pep Guardiola's side have spent £200 million (S$356 million) in the transfer window and will play Brighton on Aug 13 in the EPL.
Manchester City's John Stones stooping to head home against Spurs on Saturday. Pep Guardiola's side have spent £200 million (S$356 million) in the transfer window and will play Brighton on Aug 13 in the EPL.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Pep hails 'dominant' ICC rout over Spurs, while Pochettino contemplates new signings

NASHVILLE (Tennessee) • Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola hailed his side's evolution after a convincing 3-0 win over English Premier League (EPL) rivals Tottenham on Saturday in an International Champions Cup (ICC) friendly in Nashville, Tennessee.

John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Brahim Diaz scored - three days after City's 4-1 win over Spain and European champions Real Madrid.

They could have won by a wider margin, with striker Sergio Aguero hitting the post twice.

And Guardiola believes City are showing signs of improvement, suggesting the performance was the best since he arrived at the Etihad Stadium a year ago, reported the Manchester Evening News.

"We haven't dominated like today. Last season we were good, but not in 90 minutes like that," said the Spaniard.

"We cannot forget which team we played. (Toby) Alderweireld, (Jan) Vertonghen, Eric Dier, (Christian) Eriksen, one of my favourite players Dele Alli, Harry Kane, (Hugo) Lloris. They were the second team (in the league) last season. Tottenham for the most part of the season played the best football.

"Chelsea deserved by far to win the Premier League, but I enjoy a lot to watch Tottenham play football.

CLICKING INTO GEAR

We haven't dominated like today. Last season we were good, but not in 90 minutes... we didn't have a performance like that, especially the quality and intensity.

PEP GUARDIOLA, City manager, believes the win augurs well for the coming season.

"Okay it's pre-season, but our performance - we didn't have a performance like that last season, especially the quality and intensity."

His opposite number, Mauricio Pochettino, admitted Spurs have some catching up to do - on the pitch and in the transfer market.

While City have spent £200 million (S$356 million) on new faces this summer, Spurs have yet to make a single addition to their squad - the only EPL club yet to make a signing.

Pochettino revealed after the game that he wants to bring energetic players to the club during this transfer window, reported Sky Sports.

"It's true the squads are completely different but we are building the squad," he said.

"Maybe today they have a little bit of an advantage, they are ahead of us because they have signed and kept the players that they want.

"We are a little bit behind, but working hard to sign some players who can help us and bring some energy, and make us more competitive."

But the Argentinian insisted that results of friendlies are not that important. Spurs have won just one of their three pre-season games so far. During the ICC tournament, they beat French Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain 4-2 but lost 2-3 to Serie A's Roma .

"We prioritised training, and tried to get fit, over the result," he added. "It's true you want to win, but City were better than us, showed better quality. We lost and deserved to lose, and they deserved to win.

"It's not trying to justify, for me they were better, but our main players 14 days ago started training and it's very difficult to get fit if you only focus on playing games."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 31, 2017, with the headline 'Ominous City send out warning'. Print Edition | Subscribe