Mauricio Pochettino has praised Pep Guardiola and Manchester City ahead of Paris Saint-Germain’s Champions League semi-final meeting with the Premier League leaders.
PSG host Manchester City in the first leg of their last four encounter tomorrow evening, as the Parisians bid to reach the Champions League final for a second successive season.
Both sides are looking to be crowned champions of Europe for the first time this season, with PSG confident of progressing after eliminating holders Bayern Munich in the quarter-finals.
Despite that success, PSG will start as underdogs for their semi-final clash and Pochettino is well aware of the threat posed by City, having regularly come up against Pep Guardiola’s side during his spell in English football with Tottenham.
Pochettino has labelled his opposite number as the ‘best’ manager in the world and has praised the ‘amazing structure’ of this week’s opponents following their success in recent seasons.
“For me, he is the best,” said Pochettino, as per the Mail. “I admire him and think he is doing a fantastic job not only at Manchester City but in Barcelona and Bayern Munich.
“He is an amazing, intelligent coach, always thinking of different strategies and game plans. I love to challenge him and the teams he prepared.
“Not only the best manager. The club is important, too. A club that trusts you to build a team and provides you with all the tools to be successful. That is the combination at Manchester City between Pep, the coaching staff, the club, the board, everyone.
“They create an amazing structure, very solid, and a very clear idea of how they need to act to be successful.”
Pochettino discussed his side’s motivation ahead of their semi-final showdown, having lost 1-0 in a narrow final to Bayern Munich in last season’s competition.
The PSG boss is hopeful that experience can help his players as they bid to secure a positive first leg result at the Parc des Princes.
“The motivation is there because the players really want to win the Champions League,” he added. “We now have the experience but we need to go step by step. Now, we have to beat Manchester City and it is going to be really, really tough.”