Mauricio Pochettino v Pep Guardiola: How their rivalry has developed
Last Updated: 28/10/18 4:29pm
Mauricio Pochettino and Pep Guardiola's rivalry has roots in La Liga and is now intensifying in the Premier League. We analyse some of their key previous meetings.
The two managers face off again at Wembley, live on Sky Sports Premier League, when Tottenham and Manchester City clash on Monday Night Football.
Both men cite current Leeds boss Marco Bielsa as a huge influence on their football philosophy. Bielsa was Pochettino's "father in football" while Guardiola's passion for coaching was helped sparked by Bielsa during an educational sabbatical to Argentina.
Both managers demand their teams defend high, press high and build from the back. Internally, they are both incredibly driven, fuelled by a desire to get the absolute maximum of their players.
Here, we take a look at five key meetings in terms of Pochettino's history with Guardiola in the dugout - from La Liga to the Premier League.
Barcelona 1-2 Espanyol (2009)
Pochettino's managerial career began with Espanyol in 2009, with his first win coming soon after.
Remarkably, it was against Guardiola's all-conquering Barcelona in the Nou Camp. Barcelona went into the weekend 10 points clear at the top of La Liga and Guardiola had yet to be beaten in the competition in front of his own fans.
Pochettino devised the plan, Ivan de la Pena provided the quality. The playmaker, a former team-mate of Guardiola's at Barcelona, headed in the game's first goal at the far post before capitalising on Victor Valdes' poor clearance to expertly chip home a second from long range.
Yaya Toure pulled one back but the equaliser wouldn't come. Thierry Henry headed over, Xavi dragged a shot wide and Lionel Messi found the side-netting. Then Seydou Keita was harshly sent off.
Such was the magnitude of this win, Espanyol have not beaten Barcelona since.
Pochettino recalls the game fondly: "Where did I get the idea we had to press them? It's about your personality, who you are. You show on the pitch who you are. If you are brave in your life, you cannot behave in a different way on the pitch. I don't understand how to play in a different way. Always, be brave. I like to be brave."
The result helped to transform the fortunes of Espanyol, who looked certainties to go down at the halfway point of the campaign. Astonishingly, they picked up 25 points from their final 10 games, winning eight of them, to finish in the top half of the table. Pochettino's efforts at Espanyol eventually helped to get him a move to England.
Barcelona 4-0 Espanyol (2012)
The two managers met seven times in La Liga during their three years of crossing paths in the famous Spanish city.
Guardiola boasted the superior record, with four wins from their battles - although, when you consider the different levels of talent in each squad, that record, arguably, comes out favouring Pochettino.
However, Guardiola's final victory over Pochettino will be remembered fondly by everyone associated with the Catalan giants. It was his final home game in charge of Barcelona, where he'd built one of the best ever club teams and nurtured the talent of Lionel Messi.
It was fitting that the magnificent Messi scored all four goals in the typically classy and entertaining victory at the Nou Camp. It took Messi's tally for the season to 50 in La Liga.
The Argentinian opened the scoring with a free-kick and completed his hat-trick with a trademark burst and finish. Goals two and four came from the spot as Espanyol could only sit back and admire a genius at work. About 89,000 fans sang Guardiola's name and waved flags saying 'Thank you, Pep' during the game and his players showed their appreciation by giving him 'the bumps' at full-time on what was an emotional night for Guardiola.
Tottenham 2-0 Manchester City (2016)
In their first touchline meeting in the Premier League, Pochettino inflicted Guardiola's first defeat as Manchester City boss.
Pep's boys struggled to replicate the form that had guided them to six top-flight wins from six beforehand as Spurs got off to a flying start at White Hart Lane, taking the lead on nine minutes after Aleksandar Kolarov put through his own net before Dele Alli slotted a slick second seven minutes before half-time.
There was a clear similarity to the way Pochettino's team dismantled City that evoked memories of Espanyol's famous win at the Nou Camp. Spurs - bravely - pressed high up the pitch, leaving their defence potentially vulnerable, but it worked a treat as Alli played a starring role. It was a case of Guardiola getting done at his own game.
"We couldn't cope with their press, we wanted to do that and they did it better," he said.
Manchester City 2-2 Tottenham (2017)
Spurs fought back from two goals down to grab a dramatic 2-2 draw with City in the return fixture that season at the Etihad Stadium.
However, unlike the clash at White Hart Lane, Guardiola's men played with an intensity that meant they were largely dominant against an out-of-sorts Spurs and looked to be coasting to victory when Leroy Sane and Kevin de Bruyne both scored after half-time following mistakes by Hugo Lloris.
Spurs halved the deficit with their first shot on target as Alli headed in from Kyle Walker's cross before City were then denied a penalty when Walker appeared to push Raheem Sterling, and Spurs capitalised just over a minute later when substitute Heung-Min Son netted the equaliser.
City had 17 shots to the visitors' six, and Guardiola was understandably furious when his side were denied that penalty for Walker's push on Sterling. It was just 67 seconds later that Spurs scored their equaliser with only their second shot on target.
Manchester City 4-1 Tottenham (2017)
Tensions were perhaps a little more frayed than usual ahead of this meeting at the start of the 2017/18 campaign. Guardiola's comment, referring to Tottenham as "the Harry Kane team" after a streaky spell of goals for the England striker didn't go down to well in north London.
"Sometimes [he] can struggle to keep his position and be a gentleman," replied Pochettino when asked about Guardiola's quote. The pair have enjoyed a respectful relationship in the most but this row sparked an extra bit of edge to this fixture, where Guardiola's side came out firmly on top as they maintained their charge towards to the Premier League title.
Goals from Ilkay Gundogan, De Bruyne and two from Sterling gave Man City a 4-1 win to extend their historic winning run to 16 Premier League matches.
In typical Pochettino style, Spurs were aggressive out of possession and tried to keep hold of the ball when they had it but City had De Bruyne, who completely bossed the game from midfield. City subsequently dismantled Spurs at Wembley 3-1 later that season and romped to a record-breaking title win.
Who will come out on top when Pep and Poch meet again on Monday? Watch Tottenham v Manchester City live from 7pm on Sky Sports Premier League.