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Huge respect for Tottenham, says Guardiola

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Huge respect for Tottenham, says Guardiola
Soccer Football - Champions League - Round of 16 Second Leg - Manchester City v Schalke 04 - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - March 12, 2019 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola before the match REUTERS/Phil Noble   -   Copyright  PHIL NOBLE(Reuters)
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LONDON (Reuters) – Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said he has “huge respect” for Tottenham Hotspur after Friday’s Champions League quarter-final draw pitted the Premier League rivals against each other.

With four English clubs in the last eight for the first time in 10 years it was always likely two would clash next month and while Tottenham have suffered a dip in form of late, Guardiola said Mauricio Pochettino’s team would be a tough hurdle.

“Huge respect for Tottenham, I know them quite well,” Guardiola, speaking at a news conference ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Swansea City, told reporters.

“They have different systems they can use, five at the back, a diamond, 4-2-3-1. I know how good they are at the front with Son (Heung-min), (Harry) Kane, Dele Alli and (Christian) Eriksen. Experience in all departments.”

The sides will meet three times in 11 days with Tottenham hosting the first leg on April 9 before the second leg on April 17 and a Premier League clash, also at the Etihad, three days later.

“In that position it was three different competitions,” Guardiola said. “It’s game by game, the first games influences the second one, the second one influences the third.

“We travel to London. London is closer than going to Spain or Catalonia,” Guardiola added.

Guardiola’s immediate focus is on beating Championship side Swansea on Saturday to keep alive City’s hopes of a quadruple.

They will be huge favourites for that clash in south Wales but will be without defenders John Stones and Vincent Kompany as well as midfielder Kevin De Bruyne.

Benjamin Mendy and Fernandinho are also out.

“We will have to make changes,” Guardiola said. “Stones on bench, not ready to play. He is still recovering.

“Vinny and Kevin not fit. We don’t have too many options. Tomorrow is a quarter-final, that is the most important thing by far, to reach the semis.”

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

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