Poch on Pep: He is one of the best coaches in the world and this is a challenge to play against him
By Matthew Ferris at Cobham Training Ground
Mauricio Pochettino recalled fond memories of his previous encounters with Pep Guardiola as he spoke ahead of Chelsea’s tough match against Manchester City on Sunday.
Speaking of his history with Guardiola, he said: “I think we start when he was playing in Espanyol and I was playing in Barcelona, that makes it special.
“I think it’s more special because he is one of the best coaches in the world and this is a challenge to play against (him) and the team that he is coaching.”
The Argentine also said that he always knew from when Guardiola was a player that he would become one of the best managers in the world.
He did however joke about Guardiola’s fortune in how he started his managerial career.
He said: “I think he was lucky because he wanted to be sporting director at Barcelona but then he lost the election.”
Manchester City’s coaching staff are well known to Pochettino, and he is under no illusions of the challenges that his side face at the weekend.
“For me it is the best team, best coaching staff best coach manager in the world and we need to tell the truth , it’s one of the best organisations in the world.”
When asked about whether City’s dominance is a good thing for English football, Pochettino said: “it’s the reality, they dominate English football because they deserve to.”
Pochettino believes they are “the team that you want to beat.”
After beating Tottenham 4-1 on Monday, a game of this magnitude should be one to relish for the Chelsea players and a chance to build on the confidence that they will have gained from the match.
Pochettino said that they deserved to win the game on Monday, adding that the 'Battle of the Bridge' in 2016 had helped him learn a lot about helping his side handle their emotions in high intensity fixtures.
“Seven years ago, I got a lot of criticism after the 2-2 draw on this game because so many people say to me that it was my fault because I don’t teach the players how to behave and control your emotion in a game like this.”
He wants his side to tackle the steep task of trying to beat Manchester with the same character that they showed against his former club.
“We need to go there, trying to be protagonists with our personality.
“It’s going to be a challenge; we want to compete against them…we know that it’s going to be tough but we know we are going to try give our best and try to win the three points.”