EPL

Guardiola: Tottenham in title contention under Mourinho

By Sports Desk November 20, 2020

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes Tottenham are contenders to win the Premier League this season thanks to the "really good" work of Jose Mourinho.

Second-place Spurs are unbeaten in seven top-flight matches since their opening-game defeat to Everton - the longest-such run in the division - and are a point behind leaders Leicester City.

Tottenham host City on Saturday and are seeking a fourth successive league win for the first time since February 2019 when Mauricio Pochettino was in charge.

Friday marks exactly a year since Mourinho succeeded Pochettino and Guardiola has been impressed with his long-time rival's work in north London.

"He's done really good, as always in all the clubs [he's managed]," Guardiola said at Friday's pre-match news conference.

"The numbers speak for themselves. They dropped points against West Ham and Newcastle in the last minute - imagine the points if they hadn't.

"They are contenders. The quality they've got is always there. They qualified for the Champions League for four or five years and reached the final.

"They have been a good team since Pochettino took over. It is a fantastic squad."

City have lost their two meetings with Spurs at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in all competitions, including a 2-0 defeat in last season's corresponding fixture.

Their return of 12 points from seven league games is the fewest collected by a Guardiola-managed side but the Catalan coach insists his team are making good progress.

"We are getting better," he said when reflecting on the most recent meeting with Tottenham nine months ago. 

"But I don't want to focus on Tottenham - they are not my concern. We have a lot of games coming up and it is important we look to get everyone back fit."

Fernandinho and Nathan Ake will miss this weekend's match, while Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling are fitness doubts as they work their way back from injury.

"Except for Nathan and Ferna, the rest of the players have come back from international duty," Guardiola said. 

"Fernandinho is not fit. He has gastroenteritis, something in his stomach. Sergio trained this week. Raheem trained for the first time today with the team, so we'll see."

Mourinho has lost 10 of his 24 managerial meetings with Guardiola in all competitions - more than he has suffered against any other coach.

Guardiola, who penned a new two-year deal with City on Thursday, has only beaten Manuel Pellegrini (12) more times his career.

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