Tottenham completely 'opposite' of big-spending Man City - Pochettino
LONDON -- Mauricio Pochettino says it is "completely unfair" to compare Tottenham Hotspur to Saturday's big-spending opponents Manchester City.
The Spurs manager described the club's approach as the "complete opposite" to big-spending City's, but he admitted there would be no more excuses once they have moved into their new stadium at the start of next season.
Spurs have the second-lowest net spend in the Premier League over the last five years, and they again made money in the summer, while City, who spent over £200 million in the last transfer window, have the highest.
Last season's runners-up Spurs began the campaign talking up their title chances but unbeaten City's record-breaking form has left Pochettino focussed on ensuring Champions League qualification ahead of the club's planned return to White Hart Lane.
Spurs travel to the Etihad Stadium 18 points behind City and hoping to end their run of 15 straight league wins -- an English top-flight record -- but Pochettino believes comparisons between the teams are unjust, even though they have finished above City in the previous two campaigns.
"Of course it's a massive improvement by Manchester City -- they won [a] few Premier Leagues and they keep improving and improving and investing and investing, but Tottenham is in a complete different way today," Pochettino said on the eve of the match.
"In the moment that we arrive in the new stadium, the people will be allowed to blame [us] if we don't improve and don't achieve.
"But I think today it's important to recognise the effort that the club is making: trying to be competitive, trying to play Champions League, trying to fight with the big sides like City, [Manchester] United that, in the end, don't care what they spend if they can win.
"For us, it's completely different and I think it's not fair to compare the club [to them]. I don't put myself as a victim," Pochettino said. "It's only to say this is what the club is doing. And maybe in a few years is the moment say, '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 a club like Manchester City, United or Chelsea. We are in a complete opposite side. I'm not complaining about nothing. It's only that I accept our position and where we are."
If City win again on Saturday, they will become the first team since 1953 to beat Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea and Spurs before the New Year in the same season, while they have already broken Spurs' 1960 record for the best start for a top-flight campaign with 15 wins and a solitary draw.
It was suggested to Pochettino that there is an aura of invincibility about Pep Guardiola's side at present, leaving their opponents beaten before the game has begun.
"We felt the same last season at White Hart Lane -- that something special happened around the team," said Pochettino, whose team dropped just four points at home and did not lose a league game there last season.
"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 their 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. For us, we are winners. We need to give our best."
City's 2-1 win at Man United last weekend was followed by an angry confrontation between players and staff from both clubs because City were playing music too loudly in the dressing room, prompting United boss Jose Mourinho to question their "respect."
Pochettino said it may be a positive experience for his players to hear City's celebratory songs but hopes the music is emanating from the away dressing room on Saturday.
"When we won our games, like in Huddersfield, or in Wembley against Stoke, the players put music and it's so loud. It's normal. If you lose the game, you are not going to put music. You are going to the changing room, and your shower, and you want to go quick back home.
"They [City] are winning, winning, winning -- it's normal they put music in the changing room. Before the game, both changing rooms have music -- loud music -- and only on can win. If it's a draw, sure that you listen to both teams with music but that is normal!
"I wish that [it is us on Saturday!]. But I'm 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. 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."
Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.