Belfast Telegraph

Tottenham boss Pochettino hails 'near perfect' day after Man City victory

Tottenham 2 Man City 0

By Matt Gatward

Mauricio Pochettino said there was no secret to beating Manchester City: just hard work and a "near perfect performance".

His Tottenham side demolished City 2-0 - through an Aleksandar Kolarov own goal and a Dele Alli effort, and it could have been more - at White Hart Lane to bring City's perfect league start to a juddering halt.

"I am very happy, very pleased," he said. "It was a near perfect performance. To play a great team like City, you need to do a fantastic job. So, yes, I'm very proud. We worked very hard and all the players were fantastic.

"It was a really exciting game. Both teams play in an exciting way. We share a similar philosophy.

"I said after Monaco I was disappointed with the lack of passion. Today you can win or lose but have no regrets. That is the attitude we need to keep. It is important to be consistent. It is too early to talk about aims but today is the way we want to work. It is a good example to follow."

Pochettino - who had intriguing battles with City boss Pep Guardiola during their respective time at Espanyol and Barcelona - admitted his club can challenge the more established sides at the top of the table but that they have to be clever to compete.

"We are at a different level to other clubs but we work hard to improve and if we play with passion we have enough quality to fight with the big teams," he said.

The manager also insisted he will continue to let the Tottenham players decide who takes penalties despite Erik Lamela missing a spot-kick.

Lamela and Heung-Min Son had both appeared set on taking the kick. City had a couple of chances after the penalty miss that, if scored, could have led to a tense finish. But Pochettino was happy.

"Lamela, Son, (Christian) Eriksen. It is whoever feels better," Pochettino said. "It happened that two players wanted to shoot. But it is better that than no one. Maybe the next one, if Son is on the pitch and Lamela too, maybe Son will say 'this is mine, I gave you the one against City.' This is not a problem."

Guardiola had no complaints about the result. "They were the better team," the Spaniard admitted. "It happens. Last season they were fighting to win the Premier League. We know how aggressive they are, especially at home. It was difficult because we wanted to control our game but we lost second balls in positions that were so dangerous. We have to accept it and learn. It is a process.

"Sometimes it happens - we prepared as well as possible. We tried. We had problems, the game was difficult to control."

Did he have regrets? "Possibly. But they were better. We will learn. But it will happen (we will lose) again," he said.

Guardiola denied that a tough away game in the Champions League - a 3-3 draw at Celtic - had contributed to their loss.

"If you want to compete in all the tournaments you have to be used to it," he said. "The schedule, I can't control that. I don't think (Celtic was a factor). Spurs were better, it is as simple as that."

Does Guardiola think Spurs can challenge for the title despite not spending to the same tune as other top clubs? He said: "They were there last season. Why not? They have the same coach but new players."

TOTTENHAM: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose, Eriksen, Wanyama, Alli (Nkoudou, 85 mins), Sissoko (Dier, 71 mins), Son (Janssen, 90 mins), Lamela. Unused subs: Vorm, Trippier, Davies, Winks.

MAN CITY: Bravo, Zabaleta, Otamendi, Stones, Kolarov, Fernandinho, Fernando (Gundogan, 53 mins), Navas (Iheanacho, 65 mins), Silva, Sterling (Sane, 87 mins), Aguero. Unused subs: Caballero, Sagna, Clichy, A Garcia.

Referee: Andre Marriner

Man of the match: Victor Wanyama

Match rating: 7/10

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