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Man City clash not a ‘personal battle’ with Pep Guardiola – Mauricio Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino file photo
(Image credit: Adam Davy)

Mauricio Pochettino insists Paris St Germain’s Champions League semi-final against Manchester City is not a personal battle between him and Pep Guardiola.

The Argentinian also says his memorable victory over City in the competition with Tottenham two years ago will have no bearing on the contest.

French champions PSG, runners-up last season, host City in the first leg of their last-four tie on Wednesday.

Pochettino (left) believes Guardiola (right) is one of the best coaches in the world

Pochettino (left) believes Guardiola (right) is one of the best coaches in the world (Martin Rickett/PA)

Pochettino said at his pre-match press conference: “It’s not a personal battle, it’s not a personal game. It’s a battle between two very good teams.

“When you talk about Pep Guardiola you are talking about one of the best coaches in the world, if not the best. I admire Pep not only for the titles but the legacy that he is building in football.

“I love being involved in football and trying to learn, to compete and win, but it is a game between two big clubs. It’s not going to be an easy game for either side.”

Pochettino’s Spurs beat City in dramatic circumstances in the quarter-finals in 2019. City thought they had won the tie with a late goal in the second leg at the Etihad Stadium, but it was ruled out by VAR and Spurs went through on away goals.

Pochettino's Spurs dramatically beat City in 2019

Pochettino’s Spurs dramatically beat City in 2019 (Mike Egerton/PA)

Pochettino said: “There is nothing you can take from two years ago. It was a completely different game, a different approach and different teams. Always we live in the moment and the reality is this is completely different.

“Manchester City today are different and I am in PSG, which is a completely different club to Tottenham.”

Forward Neymar says he will give his all to drive PSG to Champions League success following last year’s near-miss.

The Brazil international says winning the competition is far more important than any personal glory.

Neymar has his sights set on Champions League glory

Neymar has his sights set on Champions League glory (Mike Egerton/PA)

Neymar, a winner with Barcelona on 2015, said: “We are going to do everything in our power to beat Manchester City. I will do everything, professionally speaking, to win this game.

“My main objective is the Champions League and not the Ballon d’Or. That is not my main priority.

“In the future I need to be able to remember that I have won the Champions League once, twice or maybe three times.”

Neymar’s future is a regular source of speculation but he says he has never been happier at PSG.

He said: “I really feel great, really happy. I am most happy this season.

“This year PSG has really improved and we have worked a lot to keep improving. We really want to win the Champions League.”