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POETIC JUSTICE

Pep Guardiola succumbs to the ‘Harry Kane team’ without Harry Kane

You all remember the quote... Spurs have got their revenge

You just had a feeling this would eventually come back to bite him.

Just over 18 months ago, Pep Guardiola was in a buoyant, giddy mood having just masterminded a 1-0 Man City win at then Premier League champions Chelsea.

Pep was asked about City’s title ambitions and who their main rivals might be.


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Any regrets, Pep?

Reuters
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Any regrets, Pep?

“It’s in September, so Chelsea won 15 games in a row last season, were unbeatable and won the league, not easy, but they won it in advance,” he said.

“Of course this season has a little more problems because they [Chelsea] play every three days, that’s always more complicated for all the teams.

“But we also have United, we saw again the Harry Kane team scores every day two or three goals.”

The Harry Kane team. Harry Kane and Harry Kane alone.

Kane limped off last week

AFP or licensors
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Kane limped off last week

Well the thrill of football works in mysterious ways, as a year-and-a-half later a Harry Kane-less Spurs dramatically dumped City and Guardiola out of the Champions League.

Kane is likely to miss the rest of the season, hobbling out of the first leg with significant ankle ligament damage.

But Spurs are far more resilient without their main man than anyone, particularly Guardiola, gives them credit for.

Mauricio Pochettino, with next-to-no financial backing, has instilled such a drive and cohesion within his squad that on their day they are a match for anyone.

Viva Pochettino

AFP or licensors
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Viva Pochettino

In the last two seasons they have beaten Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund home and away and now City over two legs on the biggest stage of all.

Guardiola, in comparison, has been handed an extraordinarily favourable draw on their path to this season’s quarter-finals after crumbling against Liverpool at this stage last year.

A group containing Hoffenheim, Lyon and Shakhtar Donetsk before a last 16 tie with Bundesliga strugglers Schalke saw City strike gold.

There was even a hint of poetic justice about the way Spurs got through, with two goals from Kane’s apprentice Heung-min Son and one from outcast Fernando Llorente the difference.

Stepping up in Kane’s absence

EPA
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Stepping up in Kane’s absence

It’s futile to say Kane isn’t missed but Spurs are statistically better without their number 10.

They’ll need to carry on in his absence with both a top-four spot and now the Champions League still up for grabs.

Pep crashes out, devoid of a Champions League trophy since 2011, after a large helping of humble pie.