Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Pep Guardiola fears Tottenham’s recent slump could cause a problem for Manchester City as Antonio Conte’s side bid to bounce back against the Premier League leaders.
City host Tottenham on Saturday looking to hand the visitors a fourth successive league defeat.
In contrast to Tottenham’s dismal run, City have won 14 of their last 15 league games to move nine points clear at the top.
But Guardiola has no intention of taking another victory for granted given his admiration for Tottenham manager Conte.
“The fact that they’ve lost three times, they will be more difficult tomorrow,” Guardiola told reporters on Friday.
“It’s difficult for top teams to lose four times in a row. We need to try, but it’s not easy. They have a lot of weapons.”
Conte, in charge at Tottenham since November, caused controversy this week when he said his club’s transfer dealings “may have, on paper, weakened” the squad during the January window.
That sparked speculation that Conte would not last much longer at eighth-placed Tottenham, but Guardiola is confident the Italian will get it right given time.
“I would say I don’t have words, for the fact that I learn a lot watching his teams as a manager, the movement and many things,” Guardiola said.
“He showed it at Juventus, (Inter) Milan, Chelsea, and if the club rely on him 100 percent they’ll have success.
“My first season here was tough in terms of results. Every manager needs time, needs investment, needs many things to be there for a long time or have success, especially in this country.
“I have incredible respect for the fact that when I watch his teams I feel there is something new I can learn, and I can improve.”
City’s record signing Jack Grealish will miss the Tottenham game, having sat out the last two matches due to a shin problem.
“I think the shin, the symptoms is much less than he had last season (when at Aston Villa). But still I don’t know,” Guardiola said of the England forward.
“I didn’t talk with the doctor, so right after we will see. But I think he will not get (a game) for tomorrow, but hopefully for the next weeks.”
City’s trip back from their Champions League last 16 first-leg win at Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday was disrupted by stormy weather, with the team’s plane forced to land in Liverpool after being diverted from Manchester.
“When I saw after the video, I said: ‘Wow, it was more scary than we felt’. It was bumping a lot. Something happened but the pilot talked to us and was so calm,” Guardiola said.
“The pilot was magnificent. We felt a little bit anxious but thanks to the way he talked to us, everyone was calm.”
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