Sunday’s 16:30 kickoff slot in the Premier League will see live action from the Etihad Stadium, as Manchester City host Tottenham Hotspur. After a flying start, an injury crisis in North London has seen Ange Postecoglou’s Lilywhites slip down the standings.
But despite their indifferent form as of late, Pep Guardiola used his pre-match press conference on Friday to praise his managerial counterpart, offer his thoughts on Postecoglou’s tactics and give a brief update on three key injuries within the Manchester City camp.Embed from Getty Images
Ange Postecoglou ‘makes football a better place’
‘Even the games they didn’t win lately, I’m impressed with how good the things are that [Tottenham] do and the chances they create. Aggressive in all departments. [Ange Postecoglou] came here and you recognise perfectly his team,’ explained Guardiola.
‘Every team plays for the desire of the manager – that’s what he’s done in Japan and Glasgow with Celtic and now. He makes football a better place, people like Ange. I enjoy a lot their approach, all the Spurs fans can admit the impact has been quick.’
Guardiola added that despite the injury crisis that has struck the Tottenham camp, he doesn’t expect Postecoglou to change his side’s tactics much. ‘Ask [Postecoglou] if they change when they play against us, absolutely not. Will not happen, [I would] be surprised.’
Pep Guardiola praised his managerial counterpart for sticking to his tactical beliefs, waxing lyrical about ‘the courage, the high line, it’s so aggressive. Lot of combinations, use the ‘keeper.’Embed from Getty Images
‘[They] arrive on the sides, so dynamic, it doesn’t matter who they play against. Happened in Glasgow and now here. They lost the last games, but the players know why. Lots of similarities when they were winning. Two reds against Chelsea, bad moments, but they are always positive.’
Earlier this season, Postecoglou made a comment that he copies Pep’s tactics. The Spaniard brushed that off as ‘a joke. I’m not the only manager to play a high line. Belongs to him. Sometimes my full-backs go inside, but they go to the pockets as attacking midfielders, I never used that. A question for him.’
Is the big six a thing of the past?
When asked if the Premier League’s big six is starting to resemble a top eight, Guardiola took the opportunity to praise the increasing quality within the English top flight.
‘[The Premier League] is a more difficult competition to win every season,’ he explained.
‘More teams involved, every game is so difficult. Since I arrived, with [Mauricio] Pochettino, Spurs have been there all the time. A fantastic team. Important absences. But I saw against Villa, they create chances. The approach is really good for football.’
John Stones is ‘close to coming back’
Pep Guardiola was also asked for the customary update on injuries within the camp. The Spaniard kept it short and sweet, explaining to reporters that John Stones is ‘much better and close to coming back.’
‘He’ll be with us, I don’t know if he’ll play [against Tottenham] but he’ll be there,’ he added.
‘Mateo [Kovacic] is back, training well,’ said Guardiola, before mentioning that ‘Matheus [Nunes] is the last days [of recovery].’