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Pep Guardiola has ‘incredible respect’ for Spurs boss Antonio Conte

Premier League leaders City on Saturday host a Tottenham side who currently lie eighth in the table and have lost their last three top-flight games.

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Pep Guardiola (right) and Antonio Conte (left) will go head to head when Manchester City host Tottenham on Saturday (Martin Rickett/PA).

Pep Guardiola (right) and Antonio Conte (left) will go head to head when Manchester City host Tottenham on Saturday (Martin Rickett/PA).

Pep Guardiola (right) and Antonio Conte (left) will go head to head when Manchester City host Tottenham on Saturday (Martin Rickett/PA).

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he has “incredible respect” for the work of his Tottenham counterpart Antonio Conte and has stressed the importance of time and investment for managers.

Premier League leaders City on Saturday host a Tottenham side who currently lie eighth in the table and have lost their last three top-flight games.

Former Juventus, Chelsea and Inter Milan boss Conte, in charge at Spurs since November, earlier this week said in an interview that his squad “may have, on paper, weakened” after the January transfer window.

The Italian has also this week been quoted as saying he regards Guardiola as the best coach in the world.

Regarding that remark, Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference on Friday: “Thank you so much but I’m not – I appreciate it but I’m not.”

Then giving his thoughts on the Italian, he said: “I would say I don’t have words, for the fact that I learn a lot watching his teams as a manager, the movement and many things.

“He showed it at Juventus, (Inter) Milan, Chelsea, and if the club rely on him 100 per cent they’ll have success.

He showed it at Juventus, (Inter) Milan, Chelsea, and if the club rely on him 100 per cent they’ll have success. Pep Guardiola on Antonio Conte

“My first season here was tough in terms of results. Every manager needs time, needs investment, needs many, many things to be there for a long time or have success, especially in this country.

“I have incredible respect for the fact that when I watch his teams I feel there is something new I can learn, and I can improve.

“He arrived (at Chelsea in 2016) and his impact was clear, many teams started to play five at the back. He won the league fantastically well. What happened after, in the second season, I’m not involved. But I think he made his stamp on this league and especially his players.”

Guardiola added: “Arriving as a manager in the middle of the season and changing many things is not easy.

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Guardiola’s City are nine points clear at the top of the Premier League (Martin Rickett/PA).

Guardiola’s City are nine points clear at the top of the Premier League (Martin Rickett/PA).

Guardiola’s City are nine points clear at the top of the Premier League (Martin Rickett/PA).

“In this country, play every three days, a lot of games, and all the managers need time, and unfortunately in football, we don’t have time. I had time – the club gave me this time, and I’m grateful, but all the managers need time, to try to convince the players to follow what you feel.”

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Guardiola also said Tottenham’s form is a “problem” for City.

“The fact that they’ve lost three times, they will be more difficult tomorrow,” he said. “It’s difficult for top teams to lose four times in a row. We need to try, but it’s not easy. They have a lot of weapons.”

City’s record signing Jack Grealish looks set to be missing again, having sat out the last two games due to a shin problem, with Guardiola saying: “I think the shin, the symptoms is much less than he had last season (when at Aston Villa). But still I don’t know.

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Jack Grealish has been nursing a shin problem (Martin Rickett/PA).

Jack Grealish has been nursing a shin problem (Martin Rickett/PA).

Jack Grealish has been nursing a shin problem (Martin Rickett/PA).

“I didn’t talk with the doctor, so right after we will see. But I think he will not get (a game) for tomorrow, but hopefully for the next weeks.”

City’s trip back from their 5-0 Champions League win at Sporting Lisbon on Tuesday was disrupted by Storm Dudley, with the plane transporting the team forced to land in Liverpool after being diverted from Manchester.

Guardiola said: “When I saw after the video, I said: ‘Wow – it was more scary than we felt’. It was bumping a lot. Something happened but the pilot talked to us and was so calm. The pilot was magnificent. We felt a little bit anxious but thanks to the way he talked to us, everyone was calm.”

Asked if they were given a warm welcome in Liverpool, Guardiola said with a smile: “For sure, always they are so kind to us.”

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