Belfast Telegraph

Pep Guardiola hails classy Manchester City but Spurs need to find a new gear

Manchester City 3 Tottenham 0

By Carl Markham

Toby Alderweireld has called on Tottenham to improve after slumping to a 3-0 defeat to Manchester City just two weeks before the 2017-18 Premier League season begins.

Spurs were off-colour in Tennessee as Pep Guardiola's City side ran out comfortable winners in Nashville with goals from John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Brahim Diaz.

Mauricio Pochettino's team were somewhat fortunate to ­escape with a three-goal deficit as Sergio Aguero and Gabriel ­Jesus missed easy chances to ­increase the scoreline throughout.

Spurs play Juventus at Wembley on August 5 before they start their league campaign at Newcastle on August 13, and Belgian defender Alderweireld told his team-mates the defeat against City shows there is plenty of work to be done.

"We've had a tough week of training hard, but the quality has to be better and we all know that," he told the club's official website.

"That's why you play in pre-season. We don't think 'it's pre-season, we don't care' - we do care.

"We now have two weeks to improve ourselves, to get to the level we were at last season and become even better.

"You don't want to lose, of course, but we will learn and improve.

"It's still pre-season. We try a few things, we got 90 minutes under our belts and that's good.

Pochettino said he ­"totally ­understands" why a number of Tottenham fans booed former player Kyle Walker during Saturday's defeat.

The right-back made the move to the Etihad Stadium for a fee in the range of £50million earlier in July, making him the most expensive English player of all time.

"I totally understand the fans showed they're disappointed with the situation," Pochettino said.

"But I think Tottenham fans love him, he spent nine years at the club. It's a spontaneous feeling they showed but it's not personal, it's not a big issue.

"It's only to show him they're disappointed, and to show him they're disappointed."

City boss Pep Guardiola claimed his side reached new heights in the emphatic win.

They could have run out much more comfortable victors after dominating Pochettino's side with Sergio Aguero hitting the post twice.

And Guardiola believes it is a sign of what they can achieve after overhauling his squad this summer, claiming it was the best performance City have produced since he took charge 12 months ago.

"We haven't dominated like ­today," said the Catalan.

"Last season we were good, but not in 90 minutes like that.

"We cannot forget which team we played.

"Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Eric Dier, Eriksen, one of my favourite players Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Lloris.

"They were the second team 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.

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

"Especially the quality and intensity."

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