Mauricio Pochettino described Manchester City as “one of the greatest teams in the world” led by the best coach in the game ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League showdown with Paris Saint-Germain.
The two meet in Paris for the first leg of a mouthwatering semi-final that pits together two clubs who are yet to win the competition, with PSG beaten by Bayern Munich in last season’s final.
PSG are winless in three previous matches against City, who are featuring in only their fourth European semi-final.
Asked if the size of the challenge against Guardiola’s side was greater than when they gained revenge on Bayern in the quarters, former Tottenham boss Pochettino said: “I think Manchester City are one of the greatest teams in the world, with, for me, the best coach.
“Is it going to be tougher than Bayern? We don’t know. There are always a lot of theories, but the most important is the 180 minutes.
“We are calm and we know we need to fight a lot to beat a really great team like Manchester City.
“It is going to be tough, but it is not important to play first at home or away, but you need to perform in the best way. From my experience in the Champions League it doesn’t change too much.
“It is not a personal battle, it is Paris St Germain against Manchester City. Pep is one of the best, if not the best, coach in the world. I admire not only his titles but the legacy that he is building in football.”
Pochettino enjoyed a victory over City in the last eight of this competition when he was in charge of Spurs, but he insists that will have no bearing over this encounter.
“There is not really anything I can take from that game,” he said. “Different teams, different players, different situations. Manchester City are a different team compared to when I was at Tottenham. So are PSG.”
Guardiola will be taking charge of a joint-record eighth Champions League semi-final, which puts him level with Jose Mourinho.
Ominously for Pochettino, Guardiola boats a far superior record in their head-to-head tally, with the Spaniard taking 10 wins and five draws from 18 meetings.