Spurs v City - Mauricio's preview
Mon 29 October 2018, 12:49|Tottenham Hotspur
Mauricio Pochettino is under no illusions as to the magnitude of the task we face when we take on Manchester City at Wembley Stadium tonight (8pm).
Pep Guardiola’s side have won seven and drawn two of their nine Premier League matches and will return to the summit if they take three points against us.
However, the manager insists we will stick to our game plan and philosophy as we look to topple the champions and add to our own tally of victories so far this term.
“I think they are one of the best teams in Europe, not only in England,” stated Mauricio ahead of the game. “It will be so tough. They are unbeaten, they have excellent players. Of course, it will be tough.
“We will play the same way, as always. You cannot change your approach or mentality because the opponent is good like City. We are going to have our strategy, with or without the ball, and will try to win the game.
“That’s most important, playing in the way we want to play. Football is about belief. We respect them but our belief is that we can win.”
We face a testing run of fixtures with trips to West Ham United in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening then Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League on Saturday night (both 7.45pm).
However, Mauricio is not looking past tonight’s encounter and will constantly monitor the players in the lead-up to the next two matches.
“You cannot plan – you need to win today. Tomorrow, we’ll see,” he said. “You cannot plan too much. You need to try to find the best way to win every single game and, of course, you cannot guess what will happen in 90 minutes.
“It’s Monday now and we’ll take the best decision for Wednesday and then for Saturday. It’s always day by day. You only think what is the best team to win on Monday.
“Of course, you always have in your head the main plan and the big picture. You always believe some players can help you win in different games but football is in the present. It’s not about tomorrow, it’s about today and you need to try to win first and then think about the game after.”
Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembele returned to the starting XI at PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday following injury and Dele Alli is back in training following a hamstring problem, but Mauricio will not risk the latter’s long-term fitness in deciding whether or not to pick him tonight.
“It’s not the last game of the season or a final, when you can take a risk,” he said.
“When there is a lot of competition and it’s still at the beginning of the season, you cannot risk players who come back from injury. You are always thinking about putting the best starting XI together to try to win.”