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Tottenham are second best in Europe - Guardiola

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MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has said Tottenham are "the second best team in Europe." 

Mauricio Pochettino's side visit the Etihad Stadium on Saturday after knocking City out of the Champions League last season on their way to the final. Guardiola believes Spurs deserve their billing as one of Europe's top sides and has warned his players that they should be considered genuine title challengers.

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"Since I came here to England, every season they were a real contender," Guardiola told a news conference on Friday. "In my first season they finished second.

"Always they were tough, tough games. They are the second best team in Europe. For me that's enough."

City started their title defence with a 5-0 win over West Ham thanks, in part, to a Raheem Sterling hat trick.

Guardiola has midfielder Fernandinho available again after a preseason disrupted by the Copa America while the City boss has raised the possibility that Bernando Silva could return to the starting XI after he was an unused substitute at the London Stadium.

City's strength in depth prompted Jose Mourinho say that their B team could win the Premier League and Guardiola has warned that no one is guaranteed their spot in the team as they chase three titles in a row.

"That is going to happen every weekend, every game," Guardiola said. "If everybody is fit then other players don't play.

"The quality of the team is good. I talk about the line-ups and [against Tottenham] it will be the same, we have to think what is best about our team and opponent."

Meanwhile, Spurs head coach Mauricio Pochettino has said his team are ready to challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title this season.

"I'm so happy to compete against him [Guardiola] again," Pochettino said in a news conference.

"One season more the possibility to face Manchester City and Pep -- for me, he is one of the best or the best managers in the world and that means we are in the same race, which is so important for myself."


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