Pep Guardiola believes Erling Haaland’s detractors are playing a risky game over missing Manchester City opportunities.
Pep Guardiola has jumped to Erling Haaland’s defense, telling anyone who questions his finishing that they would soon eat their words.
This season, Haaland has seven goals and two assists in seven games for Manchester City, extending his remarkable scoring run since his arrival. However, in the last two games against West Ham and Red Star Belgrade, the striker has wasted nine good chances, including two from close range at the London Stadium and one header that hit the crossbar in the Champions League.
While Haaland scored at West Ham and set up Julian Alvarez 80 seconds into the second half versus Red Star, it has been noted that he could have had ten goals in the two games. Guardiola, on the other hand, warned that anyone who criticizes Haaland is playing a hazardous game.
“He has had incredible chances, and he could have scored 14-15 goals [this season] and it would have been the same debate,” Guardiola explained. “What matters is that he always said, ‘I have the chance, I have the chance, I have the chance.'” The issue arises when I do not have chances, do not get balls, or am in the wrong place.
“My advise is to not be too harsh on Erling. Criticize the fullback, the center defense, or the manager, but never, never criticize the striker who scored all those goals because he will (score) and you will be forced to apologize to him.”
Guardiola revealed that Haaland’s fitness has been monitored in training since the start of pre-season, because he played in the Champions League final until June 10 with just a brief vacation to recover before pre-season. “He gets better every week, and everything is fine.” He is a terrifying threat.
“He’s had a lot of chances, which means we’re playing well.” By the quantity of chances Erling has, I always get the impression that the squad is doing well. When he is not participating in chances, something is amiss with our approach and dynamic.
“We created a lot of opportunities, and the ball is there, which means we’re doing a lot of good things.” It must continue. He is always present. He has scored numerous goals in the past and present, and this will continue in the future.”
Guardiola was unconcerned with any sense of wastefulness from his players after City peppered the goals of West Ham and Red Star with 56 shots over the last two games, 31 of which were on target, believing that the chances produced guarantee his team will continue to score goals going forward.
“This is football.” If you ask why, I’ll tell you it’s because of football,” he continued. “Perhaps one day we’ll create fewer chances, but he’ll have three shots on goal and three goals.” That is what I would desire.
“I said the same thing at halftime against West Ham; the score was disappointing, but your play was not.” Be more aggressive in front of goal, show that I want to win the game for myself by scoring. We have the goods. Phil has the ability to score, but Erling, don’t go wild.
“All we need to do is stay calm and positive.” The key thing is to take chances and to be present. We had 29-30 shots on target against West Ham and 30 versus Red Star. That is what you must do, and if we do so, we will win many games.”