PEP GUARDIOLA admitted that he had everything he could want to do his job when he signed his two-year contract extension at Manchester City last week.

It did not stop some wags from suggesting that he will outstrip the UK government’s proposed £16.5 billion spend on defence next year, to reinforce his own in summer 2021.

There is an argument that says it might be other areas of his squad that require an infusion of new blood and it will grow louder after performances such as this.

What is clear is that City have become increasingly reliant on Kevin de Bruyne to set the tempo following David Silva’s decision to return to Spain and when the Belgian is contained so is the rest of Guardiola’s team. Their troubles in breaking teams down have generated some uncomfortable statistics for a purist such as Pep.

Prior to this game City were ranked 11th in the Premier League for expected goals and 14th for actual ones – a record that was 17 worse off than at the same stage last season. It remained the same at the end of 90 minutes at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

While Guardiola’s rebuild is still to come, Jose Mourinho’s is some way down the line. This game took place a year and a day after the Portuguese replaced Mauricio Pochettino as Tottenham manager and there was much to compare and contrast.

The biggest impact Mourinho has had is to make Spurs more conservative than Pochettino’s days. It has been good enough for a record third only to Liverpool, last season’s Premier League champions and City, the runners-up. Continue like this and it may be good enough to elevate them higher. Whatever Pochettino brought in passion and flair, Mourinho has replaced with pragmatism and organisation.

All of the attacking elements of the side that pushed Leicester City and Chelsea in two title tilts under the Argentine remain but the strategy now is risk averse.

Guardiola once called Spurs “the Harry Kane team”. It was a light-hearted comment that infuriated Pochettino. It is perhaps an even more pertinent observation nowadays. It was not meant as a sleight on the Spurs players back then, nor is it now. Kane was imperious here, drifting into an area in front of City’s midfield screen, and driving a knife through the heart of their defence – either with incisive passing to runners beyond him, surges forward, clever hold-up play or, sometimes, a combination of all three at once.

But it was Kane’s forward partner, Son Heung-min, who gave Spurs the lead when he took advantage of a static line to surge in behind the City defence before tucking the ball between Ederson’s legs after just five minutes.

There were bonus points to Tanguy Ndombele for the assist, his delicate pitch over the heads of Aymeric Laporte and Ruben Dias finding Son streaking clear. The South Korean finished like a man who was scoring his seventh goal against City in 11 appearances.

It was Tottenham’s 20th league goal of the season, double what City have registered thus far. The visitors should really have reduced the arrears on that statistic but the prostrate Gabriel Jesus blocked De Bruyne’s shot inside the area when the Belgian pulled the trigger.

Tottenham should have been 2-0 up after 13 minutes following a free-flowing move that zipped from one side of the pitch to the other and back again but, just as Son swept the ball across goal, Kane had drifted offside before dispatching into the net. It was a careless error from the England striker at what could have been a pivotal moment.

It appeared that way soon after but Jesus was again the accidental villain when he controlled Rodri’s cross just before the half hour and laid the ball off to Aymeric Laporte for the Frenchman to rifle in what looked to be the equaliser. After watching a replay on the pitch-side monitor, referee Mike Dean concluded that the Brazilian had handled the cross – it was the right call.

At various points in the first half, every outfield Spurs player was within stalking distance of the ball as City pushed and probed for an equaliser. And there was more of the same after the break.

City’s intensity ramped up but try as they might they could not find a way through and it was Tottenham who almost scored the second. Kane slid the ball through to Son, whose touch was too heavy as he rounded the on-rushing Ederson and the Spurs man ended up retrieving the ball near the corner flag.

It was a warning City failed to heed because the next time Tottenham progressed forward, Kane was again marching through midfield doing a fair impression of de Bruyne. He fed substitute Giovani Lo Celso, who had only just arrived on the field, and he slotted the ball past Ederson, who had again come flying out from his line. The second goal came with 25 minutes remaining but it felt decisive and, indeed, proved to be so.

Defeat brought another unwanted stat for Guardiola with this his worst start as a manager after eight games.

Meanwhile, had Spurs not fallen foul of VAR against Newcastle United and got in their own way against West Ham they would be six points clear at the top of the table this morning. Who knows what this represents?

With Tottenham it is rarely wise to make grand claims. But with games against Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Leicester to come before now and mid-December, Mourinho will be given a clearer idea over whether this team can achieve what Pochettino’s couldn’t.