Manuel Pellegrini has warned that Manchester City will be facing a different Tottenham to the side who rolled over twice against the Premier League champions last season.
City triumphed 6-0 at home and 5-1 at White Hart Lane against Spurs in the last campaign but they have made a promising start under Mauricio Pochettino. Pellegrini said he has admired Pochettino as an adversary both when the Argentinian was at Espanyol and at Southampton, and that he did not expect Tottenham to collapse so easily in today's lunchtime kick-off. Pellegrini said: "Yes I am sure it is a different Tottenham.
"Last year one of the best games that we played was against Tottenham away. Here also we played very well but we are not expecting that we can score six or five goals every time we play Tottenham.
"They are a very strong team. Mauricio Pochettino is a very good manager. I'm not saying (Andre) Villas-Boas wasn't in that moment, but really we played our best last season. He (Pochettino) is a young manager that was very successful in Spain with Espanyol. He is trying the same way he did it last season at Southampton. That was a team that played very well, he continues now at Tottenham that is an important club with big players."
Pellegrini said Yaya Toure was in contention for a place despite playing for the Ivory Coast in a 4-3 home defeat against DR Congo on Wednesday, with the midfielder returning to Manchester on Thursday. If Toure is feeling any tiredness, that may open the way for Frank Lampard - the club's player of the month for September - to start.
Pellegrini said he was not surprised by how well 36-year-old Lampard has been performing for City. "For me it is maybe not a surprise because I know his quality," he said.
Pellegrini admitted City now have a crucial run of games coming up in three competitions.
"We know that from now until the next international break we have to play seven games in three different competitions. We have four games in the Premier League.
"It is very important for us to try not to drop points," he added.