“It’s not a battle, it is a game,” Mauricio Pochettino said when asked whether he had a personal battle with Pep Guardiola. The Tottenham manager had, after all, come out on top when his Spanish side overran Guardiola’s Barcelona in the 2011 Champions League. It was a masterful display that hinted at the fine management of the Argentinian, who, in his first season with Spurs, has taken his side to the Champions League’s last-16 stage.
Mauricio Pochettino has played down suggestions that his personal rivalry with Pep Guardiola will fuel Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg between Tottenham and Paris St-Germain. The two managers have a history of confrontations, dating back to their time in La Liga, when Pochettino was at Espanyol and Guardiola was at Barcelona.
Pep Guardiola and Mauricio Pochettino face each other for the first time since the latter was sacked at Tottenham.
Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino says Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final against Manchester City will not be a personal clash with Pep Guardiola.
Pochettino led City to victory over Guardiola City in the 2019 League quarter-finals.
The two men also clashed more than once in the Premier League before Spurs sacked Pochettino in the same year.
It’s not a personal battle, it’s not a personal match, Pochettino said.
It’s a battle between two very good teams.
When we talk about Pepe Guardiola, we are talking about one of the best coaches in the world, if not the best. I admire Pep not only for the titles, but also for the legacy he creates in football.
We want to be among the elite in this competition
Guardiola led City to the semi-finals of the competition for the first time since he took over as manager in 2016.
He will find it difficult against last year’s winners, who beat Barcelona and defending champion Bayern this season.
Guardiola believes the game against PSG will give his side the best chance to prove they deserve to be among the best in Europe.
We’re not in the top of this league, but we definitely want to be, he said.
When the owners took over the house, they wanted us to move to England first, and we were lucky enough to live where we are now.
The Premier League is the most important, but the Champions League is the most fun, I think.
Guardiola will be able to count on a fully fit squad, while PSG should be able to count on 37-time scorer Kylian Mbappé, who was injured in the game against Metz last weekend.
City has a 69% chance of passing.
Simon Gleave, head of sports analytics at Nielsen’s Gracenote: Manchester City remain the favourites to clinch their first Champions League trophy at the end of the season.
The number one in the Euro Club IndexLien external must first beat number five Paris Saint-Germain.
City have a 69% chance of beating PSG and a 44% chance of winning the Champions League.
City’s long unbeaten run on the road –Stats
- Manchester City have lost two of their last five games in all competitions (W3), so they now have three losses in 33 games; they have won the other 30 games.
- City have won their last 17 away games in all competitions, breaking the previous record for top English teams of 11, set between May and November 2017.
- Guardiola’s side have won 11 of their last 16 European away games (D3 L2), with two defeats against English opponents; the most recent being a 1-2 defeat against Shakhtar Donetsk in the sixth round of the 2017-18 Champions League.
- PSG have won 19 of their last 25 games in all competitions (D1 L5), scored 59 goals and conceded 21.
- Kylian Mbappé has scored 19 goals in PSG’s last 14 games, including a hat-trick and seven duels, the last against Metz in Ligue 1 on Saturday.
- Pochettino and Guardiola have met as managers 18 times, the current PSG coach has won just three times while Guardiola has won 10.