Mauricio Pochettino insists heavy City defeat is an "unbelievable experience" for Spurs

Mauricio Pochettino admitted that Manchester City were deserved winners against his Tottenham Hotspur side but called it "an unbelievable experience" that his side must learn from.

Spurs became the 17th Premier League side that City have beaten in just 18 top-flight games this season as they were thrashed 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

İlkay Gündoğan opened the scoring with a free header from a corner after just 14 minutes, before Pep Guardiola's side spurned a succession of first-half chances to build on their lead - Harry Kane curling just wide in Spurs' only opportunity.

Despite the North London outfit's improvement beyond the break, with Kane forcing a good save from Ederson, Kevin De Bruyne doubled City's lead on 70 minutes.

That came shortly after Dele Alli was lucky not to be sent off for a poor challenge on the Belgian, while Kane was equally fortunate not to see red for a studs-up tackle on Raheem Sterling.

While Gabriel Jesus smacked a penalty against the post after Man of the Match De Bruyne went down from Jan Vertonghen's tackle, Sterling added a late brace before Christian Eriksen's stoppage-time consolation.

Pochettino has now won just one of 18 away games against the league's 'big six' and Spurs were outclassed by the league leaders, who are now 21 points ahead of them.

City showed Spurs what is needed to compete for the title, says Argentine

"I think the better team won," admitted Pochettino afterwards. "When you watch and assess the game, the way we conceded the first goal was a massive gift for Manchester City.

"That changes completely all that we prepared and wanted to develop on the pitch. They are in very good form, very good momentum. They are showing why they are the best, so far, in the Premier League.

"But different things happened during the game, of course second half we started well and [were] still alive in the game. The chance that we had with Harry Kane maybe was key because if we had scored there, maybe it would have changed, we dominated City in the first 20 minutes of the second half.

"But 2-0, it's difficult again. When you provide a lot of space for players like Sterling, [Leroy] Sané, [Sergio] Agüero, Jesus or De Bruyne, they have unbelievable quality in the transition. And then, you need some luck. The chance with Harry Winks, the penalty, maybe changed the game.

"Yes, 4-1 is a result that's disappointing, you are so disappointed. You cannot say nothing positive because that is the mentality in football but for me to take some positives, it was an unbelievable experience for the team, to realise that to play for the Premier League we need to improve, to learn, to work harder than before. We played today a team that have a lot of quality."

"Alli or any individuals not to blame"

The Argentine was asked about the performance of playmaker Alli - the Englishman lacking in influence with his dangerous foul on De Bruyne his only moment of any note.

But Pochettino refuses to lay blame on any of his players and instead insists that Spurs can learn lessons from City's superiority.

"I'm not going to talk about individuals, about names, because it's not fair," he continued.

"The most important [thing] is our qualitative performance. It wasn't how we expected. We were poor, but not only poor, the way we conceded the first goal was a massive mistake for us.

"When you play against a team like Manchester City, if you concede after 15 minutes a goal like this, come on. We cannot assess individual performances. After a 4-1, we need to be calm and try to talk and next week try to be better. We need to improve, we need to learn from this situation.

"Today was a good example to see a team that believe, have the quality, have the strength and are in good form. Nothing to say, they deserve the victory, completely."

Pochettino reluctant to compare City to Guardiola's former sides

Guardiola boasts the longest winning runs in three of Europe's top five leagues and this win levelled his best streak with Barcelona, with City closing in on Bayern Munich's European record of 19 successive league wins.

On whether this City side matches up with Guardiola's Barcelona side, who Pochettino faced in charge of Espanyol, the Spurs boss added: "I don't know. I think they are doing very well. Barcelona won everything. I don't like to compare teams, I don't like to compare different clubs in Europe.

"Of course they are doing very well, but for me yes it's a long way still, not only Premier League, but Champions League and different things. The way that we tried to play, I feel relaxed, because we tried.

"We tried to develop our philosophy and our ideas. It's true that the team that was in front was better than us but now we try to lift our players and prepare for the next game because now this game is in the past."