Belfast Telegraph

Pep Guardiola v Mauricio Pochettino tactical focus

Rival managers Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino came up against each other as Premier League leaders Manchester City beat Tottenham 4-1.

Here, Press Association Sport analyses the two men in charge.

Selection

Guardiola was forced to make one significant change with the in-form David Silva, who had scored four goals in the previous three games, pulling out for personal reasons. Ilkay Gundogan came into midfield while Leroy Sane and Kyle Walker - against his former club - brought attacking threat after being rested in midweek. Pochettino recalled some of his star names in Dele Alli, Kieran Trippier and Mousa Dembele after a midweek rest.

Tactics

Pochettino clearly sent his side out to press City and give them little time on the ball. This was an attempt to take Guardiola on at his own game, unlike several of the Spaniard's recent opponents, who adopted a defensive approach. It was a tactic that soon failed as City quickly worked out a way to bypass them. City, playing their usual high-energy attacking game, consequently dominated the first half and deserved to lead by more than 1-0.

Changes

City showed signs of slowing down early in the second half but Guardiola gave his side a jolt just before the hour by sending on Gabriel Jesus for Sergio Aguero. It enlivened City and their second goal followed courtesy of Kevin De Bruyne. Pochettino had little answer and City put a realistic slant on the scoreline in the latter stages.

End result

City's performance was reminiscent of their big wins of the autumn. Tottenham were outclassed but Pochettino is not the only one to fail against them. The managers who have tried to absorb all of City's pressure and hit them on the counter or through set-pieces have fared relatively well, but no-one has found an effective way to deal with Guardiola's formula.

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