Pep Guardiola tips Tottenham to come out all guns blazing at Manchester City

Catalan coach says Postecoglou and Spurs are a good advert for Premier League

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is full of admiration for Spurs counterpart Ange Postecoglou. EPA
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Pep Guardiola is expecting Tottenham to ignore their defensive issues and opt for a strategy of all-out attack when they visit Manchester City on Sunday.

Spurs have been hit hard by injury and suspension in recent weeks, including problems with first-choice centre-backs Micky van de Ven and Cristian Romero. They have been playing a back four made up entirely of full-backs and have seen their flying start to the season give way to a three-match losing streak.

Despite their selection issues, manager Ange Postecoglou has stuck to his guns and played on the front foot, and Guardiola fully expects more of the same at the Etihad Stadium.

“[Postecoglou] has been there from day one, from the first game of the Premier League,” said City boss Guardiola. “I have the feeling it doesn’t matter the result, it doesn’t matter the opponent, home or away – they do what they have to do.

“I like that. I think that is so incredible an advert for our game, for our sport. When two teams (decide it) doesn’t matter what happens, I do my game, I go forward, there are always nice things to watch, all the time.

“It’s impossible you don’t see an interesting game where both teams want to try to do it.”

As well as their defensive problems, Spurs are also without key midfielder James Maddison, although they do welcome back Yves Bissouma this weekend.

For City, midfielder Mateo Kovacic is back in contention after injury and John Stones, an unused substitute of late, is also close to a return.

Kyle Walker, who has taken over the City captaincy so far this season with Kevin De Bruyne out injured, will face his old club.

“I’m really, really pleased about what he’s doing,” said Guardiola of the 33-year-old right-back.

“He’s the same guy who was involved before, when he wasn’t captain, but now the players decided to pick him, so he now has a little more responsibility.

“When there’s some problems in the locker room or whatever, captains tend to solve it.”

When asked if he would temper his approach given City's formidable home record, Postecoglou confirmed Guardiola's suspicions by rejecting the notion out of hand.

“I’m sure the players are thinking ‘is this really going to work against Man City?’ And those are justifiable questions that they need to ask,” Postecoglou explained.

“My role is to show them that this is still the way forward for us as a group. If we’re ever going to bridge that gap to being a successful side, we have to believe in the football we want to play.

“Even though the last few results haven’t been great, I don’t think the players have felt like they struggled out there.

“They still felt there were parts of the game when we were dominant, so they can see when we’re on it and we’re doing things right, even with so many absences, we’re still a very good football team. I don’t feel like it’s at a point where I’m losing people."

Updated: December 02, 2023, 1:48 PM