Pep Guardiola wants Erling Haaland to have greater involvement at Manchester City and says goals cannot be the forward’s sole contribution.
Haaland has had a record-breaking debut season at Manchester City and is the Premier League’s leading scorer with 28 goals for the campaign – already the highest return from a foreign footballer in their first season in English football.
However, the Norwegian’s return has slowed since a prolific start to the season and Haaland has scored just twice from open play across his last seven league fixtures.
Debate has raged over whether City are a better side with the presence of an out-and-out centre-forward this season, despite Haaland’s goalscoring return.
Speaking ahead of City’s clash with RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Tuesday, Guardiola said he wants Haaland to contribute more outside of the penalty box.
“I don’t like one player just to be in the box to score goals. Of course that is important, it is the main thing, but it is not all we need of him,” he told his pre-match press conference.
“Apart from that, when we are away from the opponent’s box he cannot score a goal we need him to be involved [in play] and to be active. We have to look at him and he has to be involved in what we are doing.
“This we can improve. He has improved a little bit but on this he can do better.”
Kevin De Bruyne also addressed the media alongside Guardiola and discussed Haaland’s contribution this season. The midfielder said that he has no concerns over Haaland’s recent performances.
“Maybe he was also a little bit more prolific when he got the chances, but I don’t feel as if we have to complain about the output of Erling in any way,” De Bruyne said.
“I think he is fine. In the Crystal Palace game he had maybe two or three chances and if he scored two I don’t think there is any issue. But people are always anticipating him to score two or three goals whereas his average is probably a goal a game so that seems fine for me.
“Sometimes it is also good to have different options. Where in the last few years people may say there was not that presence in the box and not enough deep runs, now people are saying the opposite. It works in different ways.
“I feel like in the beginning of the season when everything was going in and we were winning a lot of games there was nothing going wrong, but when you lose a few points it’s different.
“I don’t feel there is any issue. I have not heard anything coming out from the team – from Erling or anyone else.”
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