Pellegrini: Spurs will be tougher this time

Manuel Pellegrini has warned that Manchester City will be facing a different Tottenham to the side who rolled over twice against the Premier League champions last season.

Pellegrini: Spurs will be tougher this time

City triumphed 6-0 at home and 5-1 at White Hart Lane against Spurs in the last campaign, but they have made a promising start under Mauricio Pochettino.

Pellegrini said he has admired Pochettino as an adversary both when the Argentinian was at Espanyol and at Southampton, and does not expect Tottenham to collapse so easily today.

Pellegrini said: “Yes I am sure it is a different Tottenham.

“Last year one of the best games we played was against Tottenham away. Here also we played very well but we are not expecting that we can score six or five goals every time we play Tottenham.

“They are a very strong team. Mauricio Pochettino is a very good manager. I’m not saying Villas-Boas wasn’t in that moment, but really we played our best last season. We hope on Saturday we can do a very good game also.

“He (Pochettino) is a young manager that was very successful in Spain with Espanyol, it was a team that always played good and attractive football and it was a creative team.

“He is trying the same way he did it last season at Southampton. That was a team that played very well, he continues now at Tottenham that is an important club with big players.”

Pellegrini said Yaya Toure was in contention for a place despite playing for the Ivory Coast in a 4-3 home defeat against DR Congo on Wednesday, with the midfielder returning to Manchester on Thursday.

If Toure is feeling any tiredness, that may open the way for Frank Lampard — the club’s player of the month for September — to start. Pellegrini said he was not surprised by how well 36-year-old Lampard has been performing for City.

“For me it is maybe not a surprise because I know his quality,” said the City manager.

“When you have the age of Frank Lampard you are not able to play three games in a week but when you have so great a player, you can resolve a lot of problems that we have during the game and I think that Frank is doing these duties at this moment. I am very happy with him.”

Pellegrini admitted City now have a crucial run of games coming up in three competitions.

He said: “We know from now until the next international break we have to play seven games in three different competitions. 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 which is the leader in this moment.

“We also have one game against Newcastle which is like a final because if we don’t win we go out of the Capital One Cup. We have two games against CSKA Moscow in the Champions League and we need to win both of them.

“The best way to think is that every game is a final.”

Eliaquim Mangala is set to miss out against Spurs with a thigh injury.

The defender was an unused substitute for France in midweek and should be fit for City’s Champions League match in Moscow on Tuesday.

All the other City players are fit apart from Samir Nasri, who is still recovering from groin surgery.

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