Mauricio Pochettino believes Tottenham cannot be compared to Manchester City because of the difference in the clubs’ financial power.
City splashed out almost £175million on new players last summer, more than twice as much as Spurs, who spent just over £70m.
The two teams go head to head on Sunday in a clash of first against third in the Premier League, with Pep Guardiola’s men sitting four points clear of Spurs – and two above second-placed Liverpool – after winning all of their opening six games.
While City have brought in a host of star-studded names in recent years, Tottenham have turned more to their academy, particularly as funds are limited while the club’s new stadium is built.
“It’s difficult to compare Spurs and Man City,” Pochettino, who claims the visitors will start as favourites to win, said.
“You can see the budget, the salaries they pay and compare with Tottenham and it’s very clear. They compare with United, Liverpool. We are in a project here and for that, Spurs is different.
“Remember when I arrived, my first season here. Compare that with Guardiola – how much he spent and how much I spent. We are in a very different project. I don’t need to explain that.
“For us, it’s important to build. In two years we build a different philosophy, a different project and build a new stadium.
“It is to settle the principles to be a big, big club. Our ambition is to be one of the biggest clubs in the world. You need time, it is a process.”
Pochettino on Guardiola
Guardiola and Pochettino know each other well from their time in Spain with Barcelona and Espanyol respectively, first as players and then as managers.
Pochettino led Espanyol to a superb 2-1 victory at the Nou Camp in 2009, which ended Barcelona’s six-month unbeaten run, but Guardiola has come out on top in five out of nine coaching encounters.
The Spaniard has also recruited some of Pochettino’s former team-mates and staff, including Mikel Arteta, now on the coaching team at City.
“Yes, because we are from Barcelona, we were together,” Pochettino said.
“I played with Mikel Arteta at Paris Saint-Germain, with Lorenzo Buenaventura, who is in sports science and was my sport scientist at Espanyol, then Eduardo Mauri was my doctor at Espanyol, so Guardiola signed all people from Espanyol!
“No, I think we have a very good relationship, with Pep too. We met before we started the season, in Barcelona, we met and we have a very good relationship between both coaching staffs.”
Tottenham team news
Pochettino is hoping to hand returns to Eric Dier, Danny Rose and Mousa Dembele, who have been out with hamstring problems, and Moussa Sissoko, who took a bang to the head last weekend.
He must also decide whether to stick with summer signing Vincent Janssen up front. Janssen was top scorer last season for AZ Alkmaar in Holland but is yet to score in open play for Spurs.
“We cannot compare him with his former club in Holland,” Pochettino said.
“The Premier League is tough, different to the Dutch league, we are happy in the way he’s working.
“It’s true he needs to score. It happened with Harry Kane – he needs to be patient, work, adapt his quality to new club, a new league. It’s always difficult and we’re happy.”