Thursday, December 7, 2023

Pep Guardiola not judging Manchester City superstar Erling Haaland on goals: ‘He has the desire to improve’

As Manchester City cruised past Swiss side Young Boys in Champions League play on Wednesday, star striker Erling Haaland scored a brace including quite a goalzo as City scored three second half goals in a 3-1 victory. After a lengthy scoreless run of three games — by Haaland’s prolific standard — he has now scored in back-to-back games but even with that, manager Pep Guardiola had a few things to say about the output of his star striker, including how he judges him. 

“I’ve told him many times I don’t judge him for scoring goals, although I know he wants to score goals,” Guardiola said following the game. “He has the desire to improve and I don’t have doubts about that.”

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Getting into space and allowing City to create chances are the dangers that Haaland poses because no matter how long it has been since he has scored a goal, the next one could be coming with any touch of the ball. That danger provides City with a psychological advantage in wearing teams down which is just how the team blew past Young Boys.

Even with Haaland’s “slow” start to the season, he has 11 goals and two assists in 14 matches but after scoring 52 goals and assisting nine in 53 matches last season, he has set himself almost an impossible bar to reach.

“There is the impression after last season that he has to score seven goals every single game. That is impossible,” Guardiola said. “But he is scoring a lot of goals and if people want him to fail because he doesn’t score 50 goals, it doesn’t matter. He is always there.”

Haaland was certainly there for his second goal on Wednesday. Getting the ball with defenders all around, all it took was a few touches for Haaland to break free and unleash a rocket.

If he can continue doing that, there’s no reason why City can’t with the Premier League and Champions League yet again. He may not be able to score every game, but even a season where he scores a bit less, it would still be prolific and potentially unmatched. 

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