City irked Manchester United at Old Trafford last weekend by — amongst other things — reportedly blaring songs out of their changing room, which prompted an extraordinary bust-up between the teams’ players and staff.
Now, Pep Guardiola’s men are chasing a record-stretching 16th Premier League victory, but Pochettino wants it to be his side playing the tunes at the Etihad Stadium.
“I wish for that,” Pochettino said.
“I am never [going to complain] if another team celebrate, because sometimes it’s good, when you lose, and you hear all that happens in another changing room, it’s good to feel the pain.
“With respect of course, because it’s always about respect, but sometimes it’s good to listen. Then, you think, ‘if we run more, and we play better and we care more. Come on maybe we need to translate that feeling to the opposite changing room’.”
City are unbeaten and have scored 52 goals in their 17 league games so far. They sit 11 points clear at the top of the table and 18 ahead of Spurs in fourth.
Asked if there is now a psychological hurdle to overcome against City, Pochettino referenced Tottenham’s unbeaten final season at White Hart Lane.
“I agree with you in terms of the aura,” Pochettino said.
“For us, we felt the same last season at White Hart Lane: That something special happened around the team.
“I think it was a player a week or two ago that said: ‘Wow, I remember last season, we always start 1-0 up at White Hart Lane, because something special was happening.’ And for the opponent, it was tough to play against us, but now, of course, City are doing fantastic. The respect of the opponents and everyone is massive, and yes, we feel the same — that we respect our opponent, it’s so important — but in the end, we’re going there to fight, to kill them and try to win. That is the most important.”
City’s brilliance has been aided by their formidable financial power, while Tottenham have had to remain prudent, particularly while their new £800m stadium is being built.
“I think it’s not fair to compare the club — not myself, I don’t put myself like a victim — but it’s only to say this is what the club is doing and maybe in a few years is the moment to say, ‘eh, come on, the club now need to win and need to compete, and with the same tools as another big club’.
“That is the moment to say ‘compare’, ‘compare with another club’, but today it’s completely unfair that the people, the media, is going to compare Tottenham with this type of club like Manchester City, United, or Chelsea. We are in a complete opposite side.”
Kyle Walker left Tottenham in the summer for Manchester City and Pochettino accepts more of Tottenham’s stars may leave the club to win trophies.
However, he stressed Spurs sanction sales on their own terms, with Walker only allowed to depart for a hefty £52m fee.
“It’s human nature that the players always want to improve and have different challenges and ideas, but I am not worried, because in the end it’s always three parts in all the situations in football: The players, the club that owns the players and if another club want some players, and in the end it’s to be agreed on different things and try to make everyone happy with the decision.
“We’re not worried. We know how our project is and who we are, and in the end we try to develop our project not only thinking about today and tomorrow, but thinking long-term. That is so important, because it’s not only that we need to win today, tomorrow, after tomorrow. We need to win today, tomorrow and in one year and two, three, four years. That is the plan for Tottenham.”
Dele Alli is likely to be recalled after he was rested for Wednesday’s win against Brighton, but Victor Wanyama and Toby Alderweireld are still out with knee and hamstring injuries, respectively.
Pochettino also said there was no lingering ill-feeling with Guardiola over the Spaniard’s ‘Harry Kane team’ jibe in October. “It’s in the past, I forgot everything,” Pochettino said. “I think him too, the same.”
Spurs are unbeaten in their last four meetings with City, and have won three of those, but never have their opponents been in such relentless winning form.
“We’re going to play, for me, the best team today in Europe, not only in England,” Pochettino said.
“It’s not that we need to be brave, we need to behave like always, we need to think like always.
“Then it’s about playing and try to dominate and try to play in the way that sometimes you can. We’re going to play in a way that we believe we can win.”