Guardiola regrets ‘Harry Kane team’ comments
Manchester City manager believes Spurs have proved him wrong this season Laporte dismisses concerns over Wembley pitch following NFL match yesterday
Pep Guardiola admits he was wrong to refer to Tottenham as “the Harry Kane team”.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino claimed Guardiola, his Manchester City counterpart, was disrespectful to the London club when he used the term last year as it implied the England talisman was their only significant player.
Guardiola insisted he did not mean that and the reference was intended as a compliment to Kane but he accepts it came out badly.
In any case, he feels Spurs have proved him wrong completely by making a fine start to the season while Kane’s form, despite yielding five Premier League goals, has been sporadic.
Spurs head into tonight’s clash between the two sides at Wembley trailing impressive champions City by just two points.
“They show me how wrong I was,” Guardiola said.
Given the tightness at the top of the table, Guardiola, whose side cancelled out Liverpool in a goalless draw earlier this month, sees it as another game City can ill afford to lose.
He said: “When you play against the contenders it’s almost six points, isn’t it?
“These are important. I don’t know what’s happened in the past but it’s true that the strong teams are making a lot of points, they are not dropping points easily.
‘Focused on everyone’
“That’s why maybe the games against the contenders are becoming so important. We’ve started with three games away against them. That’s why it is so important to take those points.”
This is a message Guardiola certainly got across to his players last season.
City were beaten by Liverpool and Manchester United during their record-breaking campaign but, in the latter case, the title was all but secured by then.
Guardiola said: “The first year we dropped a lot of points against contenders. Except Anfield and United at home, we won everything in the second season.
“The reality is what we’ve done last year you have to be focused on everyone. That we had 100 points is because we were focused on all the games.”
Guardiola feels his team have largely maintained last season’s standards but he remains concerned about the number of chances they are not converting.
He said: “I think it is quite similar, the rhythm, to last season, more or less. We control part of the game, we create more chances, concede few.
“When that happens, it is a solid team but to win games, especially important games like in the Champions League or Tottenham or Monday, you have to be so solid at the back and our conversion rate in front must be a little bit higher.
“Against top teams we don’t have too many chances.”
Defender Aymeric Laporte has dismissed concerns about the Wembley pitch ahead of tonight’s clash. The Premier League encounter takes place the day after an NFL match between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Philadelphia Eagles was played on the same surface.
There have been fears that yesterday’s game could leave the ground in a poor state – one hardly conducive to the free-flowing attacking football favoured by City and Tottenham – but Laporte is not concerned.
The City defender said: “I don’t think it will affect us. We will concentrate on ourselves and that is the most important thing. The pitch is the same for both teams.
“It will be a difficult match for us. All the matches in the Premier League and the Champions League are difficult.”
“I don’t have social media, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, nothing. That’s why my head, my face, looks younger than I really am.” – Forty-six-year-old Mauricio Pochettino explaining how he still looks twenty-two. Wise man. “Cristiano Ronaldo spoke about the ketchup bottle and when you shake it - the goals are coming and coming and coming. I believe with Lukaku that this will happen.” – Jose Mourinho (inset) reckoning that once Romelu Lukaku is squeezed, the goals will flow. “We could have bought him at Palace for £6m, but my chief scout told me he was too slow. I think he’s still in a job as well.” – Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock on missing out on Virgil van Dijk when he was in charge at Crystal Palace. “All journalists try to hurt us, maybe it’s envy because you don’t know how to play football.” – Marcelo on the media being mean to Real Madrid. He has a point about that envy, you know. “They shouldn’t cry. But I’m not in a position to talk about the crises of other clubs.” – Cristiano Ronaldo, winning the Miaow of the Week award, responding to Real Madrid’s Isco suggesting that there were no tears over his departure to Juventus because he wanted to leave. “If I said a player goes to the toilet 20 times before a game, I never named Lionel Messi.” – Diego Maradona, having said Messi goes to the loo 20 times before games, denies saying Messi goes to the loo 20 times before games.