Pep Guardiola has defended Erling Haaland’s involvement with the Manchester City side in recent weeks.
Haaland started life in the Premier League like an absolute battering ram, scoring a barely believable 18 goals before the break for the World Cup.
Since then, the Norwegian’s strike rate has decreased – although he’s still banged in another eight league goals since the league’s return – with several observers questioning whether Manchester City, and Pep Guardiola’s possession-based brand of football, are getting the best out of their dynamic striker.
Haaland has netted just once in his last six appearances in all competitions, with City having only won three of those games, though Guardiola defended the 22-year-old’s contribution to the team, despite only registering a combined 38 touches across his last two games.
“It’s our fault. Not Erling. Erling has been impressive all season,” Guardiola said at his pre-match press conference.
“It’s not metrics, I don’t need metrics to know. When I finish the game one second later I know if he has been involved or not and who should be more involved or not. I don’t need numbers or metrics.”
Guardiola hit back at being asked if his number 9 is frustrated after going two games without a goal, insisting that the striker position is ‘the most difficult’ in the side, while his style of play isn’t all about getting the ball into the striker.
“In the game against Nottingham, you are right. Arsenal no,” he said. “Don’t make one game a big theory. He had chances in Nottingham in the first and second half.
“Of course we have to improve and we will improve. We have spoken about that many times and it is going to happen.
“Striker is the most difficult position in the world because they have two players focused on him and Erling has more. It’s not easy to do that.
“I would like to see in my career here our other strikers like Sergio [Aguero] or Gabriel [Jesus] when they player proper striker not false nine how many times did they touch the ball.
“It’s not about have the ball, [get the ball to the] striker, have the ball, striker. Our process is more [than that].
“It’s fine. I am frustrated too. You are frustrated too in your life sometimes isn’t it? Happiness is overestimated.”
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