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He makes football a better place – Guardiola hails Postecoglou ahead of Manchester City v Tottenham

Ange Postecoglou “makes football a better place”, according to Pep Guardiola who expects a “fun” encounter when Tottenham visit Manchester City on Sunday.

Postecoglou has won many admirers for his brave, attacking football during his short spell in the Premier League after moving to Spurs from Celtic over the summer.

And Guardiola has first-hand experience of facing ‘Ange-ball’ when City took on Postecoglou’s Yokohama F Marinos in a pre-season friendly in 2019.

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Guardiola said: “We have met once, three or four pre-seasons ago against Yokohama. Ange was the manager. It was the second pre-season game and I said ‘wow, there are things I like’.

“I said to the players I know you’re not ready but we will face a good team. They are intense in their build-up and use the keeper in the process.

“We won [3-1], but, [and with] all respect to Yokohama, we had better players. I have followed him when he was at Celtic winning trophies and now in the short time he’s been [at Spurs].

“Every team plays to the desire of the manager.

“He’s done it in the past in Japan and of course in Glasgow with Celtic and now. I think he makes football a better place.

“I would encourage our fans to come to the stadium, we will have a lot of fun.”

Tottenham topped the Premier League table after going unbeaten in their opening 10 games but successive defeats to Chelsea, Wolves and Aston Villa have seen them slip to fifth, three points behind City.

Many managers place an emphasis on defence when going to the Etihad to face last season’s treble winners – especially in the midst of a poor run of form – but Guardiola expects Postecoglou to stick to his usual gameplan.

“Absolutely not. This is not going to happen, I’d be surprised,” said the Catalan when asked if he was expecting Postecoglou to change his tactics.

“I’ve said many times that I am a manager but also a spectator, I enjoy a lot the way they play.

“All the Spurs fans can see they’ve been really good.

“I’m impressed by many things they do and the chances they create, how aggressive they are in all departments. He came here and in a few months he recognises his team perfectly.”

Guardiola placed little emphasis on Spurs’ recent defeats, insisting the results could have easily gone the other way.

“Have they dropped [the level of performance] in the games they lost? No,” he said.

“It has been quite similar to when they were winning but without [the injured James] Maddison and [the suspended Cristian] Romero it’s different. The drop is because of the players.”

England defender John Stones could return this weekend for City while midfielder Mateo Kovacic is also back in training and could feature.

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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