Mauricio Pochettino has hailed Manchester City as the ‘best team in the world’, but adds Chelsea will not be underdogs in their Super Sunday clash as Pep Guardiola says ‘sooner or later’ the Blues will be title contenders.
Both teams head into the game in contrasting places. Man City are top of the Premier League, winning nine of their 11 matches this season.
Chelsea have struggled to find their form under Pochettino, currently 10th with 15 points from 11 games. However, they registered a morale-boosting 4-1 win against Tottenham on Monday Night Football.
Many will have Man City as favourites when they travel to Stamford Bridge, live on Super Sunday, but Pochettino insists the Blues will not have an underdog mentality heading into a tricky fixture.
“For me, Man City is the best team, the best coaching staff, the best manager, it is the best or one of the best organisations in the world,” he said.
“Because when you show the results you are showing, it’s because you are doing things top to bottom really well. We need to give credit for the organisation at Manchester City.
“It’s going to be a challenge. We want to compete against them, we know it is going to be tough. What we want is to take three points, which are important for us.
“Chelsea is never the feeling of underdog. You are Chelsea, it’s impossible. The history is there. We cannot go and say we are the big team of the day, we need to go there and try and be protagonists with our personality, our character.
“On Monday, to go to Tottenham and finish the game 4-1 and win the game showed we have character and talent to compete and fight with the best clubs in England.
“Now we have to build that confidence which for sure will help us to be more competitive.”
Man City will once again be aiming for multiple trophies this season, having won the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League in a historic treble.
When asked for his thoughts on the dominance of one team, Pochettino replied: “It’s the reality. I don’t know if it’s good or bad. They have shown that they dominate English football because they deserve it.
“They are the team you want to beat because you want to challenge because they are showing great quality.
Poch: Special to be facing Pep again
Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino:
“In the start, when he was at Barcelona and I was at Espanyol, it was special.
“But it’s more special because he’s one of the best coaches in the world and it’s a challenge to play against him and the team that he is coaching. It is a fantastic challenge.
“It’s a pleasure and it’s going to be really nice to have the opportunity to face him in a game like Chelsea vs City on Sunday in the Premier League… and at a place like Stamford Bridge is always fantastic to play [at].”
“All of the other teams try to compete with them. But they are doing the things really well and they are ahead of us. It’s going to be our objective in the future to be ahead and dominate in the Premier League.
“Now we need to be clever, be smart and try to challenge and try to be in the place they are now. We are all fighting to take their place.”
Guardiola: Sooner or later, Chelsea will be contenders
Despite their ups and downs this season, Guardiola believes it is only a matter of time until Chelsea once again challenge for the Premier League title.
He said: “They [Chelsea] are getting better, every manager needs time. New club, new players, but sooner or later they will be a contender as the qualities in all the departments are there.
“Chelsea are one of the most important teams in England, in that period they won the Champions League with Thomas Tuchel against us.
“It’s one of the strongest teams, no doubts about that. They are alive, good spirit, aggressive, good patterns, it’s one of the toughest games we have in the season.
“But at the same time, we go there optimistic with what I have seen, the training and mood of the team. We are top of the league right now and this is what we have to try and maintain the quality of the game.
“But sooner or later Chelsea will be fighting for the title, no doubt about that.”
Man City will face two players they know well too – Raheem Sterling spent seven years at the club, winning ten major trophies. Man City academy graduate Cole Palmer left the club for Chelsea in the summer too.
Speaking about former players, Guardiola added: “He [Raheem Sterling] is playing really good, he is back in his best moments from what I have seen lately.
“He always creates incredible danger for the opposition, like he has done for us here for many, many years, he was part of the big success we had in the early years together, Raheem was really, really important.
“Really pleased [for Cole Palmer]. The reason why [he left] was that, he wanted game time – he has it, so congratulations. He is a guy who came from the academy, the reason he is having success is because he is good, and I wish him success.
“Congratulations to Chelsea and him.”
Watch Chelsea vs Man City on Super Sunday live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm; kick-off 4.30pm.