City boss Manuel Pellegrini does not expect Spurs drubbing
Tottenham Hotspur are a different proposition to last season`s whipping boys and Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini does not expect to hand them another Premier League drubbing at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
London: Tottenham Hotspur are a different proposition to last season`s whipping boys and Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini does not expect to hand them another Premier League drubbing at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
Champions City hammered Spurs by an aggregate of 11-1 over the two league encounters last season, downing the north Londoners 6-0 at the Etihad before cruising to a 5-1 victory at White Hart Lane.
But with Spurs appointing former Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino as their new manager during the close season, Pellegrini expects a closer contest this time round.
"I am sure it`s a different Tottenham," the Chilean told a news conference on Friday. "Last year it was one of the best games we played (away at Spurs), but we know we can`t score five or six goals every time we play them.
"Pochettino is a very good manager and we know it will be a difficult game. He`s a young manager who has been very successful and his teams are creative and always play good football.
"This game is not linked to last season. It`s a new season and a different moment."
Second-placed City, who have 14 points from seven matches, trail leaders Chelsea by five points and with games coming thick and fast in the Premier League and Champions League, Pellegrini is aware of the challenges that lie in wait.
"We know that from now until the next international break we have to play seven games in three different competitions," he said.
"We have four games in the Premier League. It is very important for us to try not to drop points and to try and recover points from Chelsea.
"We have two games against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League that we need win to win both of them.
"The best way to think is that the next game is a final, which is Tottenham, we will try to win it and after we will see which is the best team to try and win the next final."
Despite the international break, former Real Madrid boss Pellegrini said his side will be close to full strength against Spurs although France defender Eliaquim Mangala is struggling with a slight muscle strain.
"The situation with the players is good," Pellegrini said. "We have a small problem with Mangala, but I don`t think it`s a problem.
"It`s not easy to see the best starting 11. Tomorrow we will decide. We are trying to see which is the best team, but all will be involved in the squad list."