City were rewarded after spending big following a trophyless first season under the Spaniard, including signing full-back Kyle Walker from Tottenham in a deal reportedly worth up to £50 million.
Pochettino acknowledges Spurs cannot flex their financial muscles in the same way as City or United, yet he believes a "brave" approach - along with a willingness to work harder than the other top teams in England - is enough to make them serious contenders.
And, while his side still have some work to do this season to secure a top-four finish, the Argentine coach is already thinking ahead to how they can close the gap in the 2018-19 campaign.
"It is not impossible to beat them - we need to start the season better - but of course it is difficult,” Pochettino told the media.
"It's not all about money in football but it helps. It helps a lot. It's like happiness. It's not that if you're a billionaire you're going to be happy, but sure that helps a lot. In football it's the same.
"You can work unbelievably, you can have these ideas on football as a coach. But then you need the principal actors to deliver this idea and of course if you have better players, you have better quality.
"If you want a bigger house you need to pay what the market says. If you want five rooms, you need to have the money to pay for five rooms. If you want two or one, you need less money, but then the quality is completely different. In football it's the same.
"Or you have a spontaneous generation like at Barcelona with Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi, [Gerard] Pique, [Cesc] Fabregas, [Carles] Puyol. Or like '92 generation at Manchester United. That is not about money - that is a spontaneous generation that makes your team unbelievable.
"But in football it is to be clear about who you are and then try to maximise your tools. Tottenham, for us, is about being brave, to believe, to work hard, harder than the other teams that people consider are on our level.
"In reality, you put Tottenham on the same level as the top four or top six because the last few years we have been there. But many years ago it was sixth, seventh or eighth [in the league].
"The day we signed here the challenge was to reduce the gap. Now we are there, but the most important thing is we are there with a completely different way and tools to Manchester City or Manchester United."