Mauricio Pochettino wasn’t exactly thrilled with Tottenham Hotspur’s 3-0 loss to Manchester City in Nashville yesterday, but he said all the expected things after a preseason match that saw his side thoroughly dismantled in Music City. In comments posted on the club website, Pochettino didn’t hand-wave away the nature of the loss, but tried to downplay it and the predictable fan overreaction.
“It’s the same message after PSG and Roma,” said Mauricio. “It’s tough to lose, always, but the priority is not about the result, it’s about getting fit and playing.
“Then, it’s difficult to judge. It’s not a Premier League game. We are working to try to get fit and the objective is to start in the best condition at Newcastle.
“Now, it’s about work. We’ve played tough games in America in testing conditions and the most important thing is to train and get fit.
“So okay, I think City were better but we need to continue working hard and to be positive.
“Players played 90 minutes and that is very good news before the start of the Premier League. That’s a good feeling.”
City put a pretty comprehensive beat-down on Spurs in Nashville, pressing high and disrupting Spurs’ progression from midfield into attack. As a result, Spurs never really got much going offensively, and the speed of City’s fullbacks and attackers gave Spurs’ defense a stiff test.
Pep Guardiola’s side has spent an obscene amount of money on players this summer, but it has to be said that they spent very well. Kyle Walker and Danilo are significant upgrades on their fullbacks from last season, and the combination of City’s high press and sheer speed are going to give Premier League opponents significant problems.
Guardiola wasn’t blind to how well his side fared against the Premier League runners up, however, and said that this win was the best of his relatively short tenure at City.
“We haven’t dominated like [in that game]. Last season we were good, but not in 90 minutes like that. We cannot forget which team we played. Tottenham for the most part of last season played the best football. It’s pre-season, but we didn’t have a performance like that last season.”
For Spurs, the question now becomes where to go from here. Pochettino admitted that his team was “a little bit behind” City’s preparation, but with only a few weeks left before the start of the Premier league season and with (currently) no incoming players, time is now of the essence.
Like last season, Spurs have a very good first team (even if they didn’t show it in Nashville) but questionable depth, and it’s not a stretch to say that major injuries to key personnel could derail their season. If Spurs really do want to compete for a Premier League title this coming year, based on Saturday’s match they still have a lot of work to do.
Spurs have one final preseason tune-up against Juventus at Wembley Stadium on Saturday, August 5. Tottenham will open up the Premier League season with a trip to Newcastle on Sunday, August 13.