Pep Guardiola has reminded everyone that City’s star striker Erling Haaland isn’t the finished product yet. It is a scary thought for City’s opponents that the goal-scoring machine still has room to grow his game. But given Haaland’s age and scope for improvement the City manager was simply stating facts.
Given that Erling Haaland has scored 73 goals in 78 appearances it is frightening for City’s rivals that the striker has scope to improve. He has already shown that this season with his all-around game beginning to grow. Haaland has begun becoming more involved in City’s build-up play as he continues to develop as a player. At times it is easy to forget that the Norwegian striker is only 23 given the impact he has had at Manchester City and across his young career.
As he continues to develop his game Pep Guardiola wants to see his star striker work on his body language. Speaking before his team clash with FC Copenhagen the City manager said: “His body language in the first half was not good. The second half was much, much better. For him when he scores a goal, his mood is different. After it, he makes more movements and everything. He’s better.”
Guardiola went into further detail adding: “He has to learn that if he doesn’t score he has to have the right body language. He has to have this mood where he’s positive and he’s saying: ‘OK it will come, it will come.”
Even without scoring Erling Haaland is vital to the European champions
While Manchester City are a quality side without Haaland they are a better team with him in it. Haaland’s presence on the pitch helps create space and openings for his teammates to prosper.
This was evident in Manchester City’s recent 3-1 win over Brentford. The mere presence of Haaland on the pitch provided space for Phil Foden to score a hat trick in a match-winning performance. For Foden’s second goal, the Brentford defenders were drawn to Haaland which allowed Foden space to ghost into the area to head home City’s second of the night. The pair also combined for Foden to complete his hat trick. It was a superb layoff by City’s number 9 that played Foden in to seal the match.
That display was a prime example of Guardiola’s point that Haaland can help his team without scoring. The City manager also spoke about this during his pre-game press conference yesterday. He explained: “Because he is so young, in that moment he has to be positive. When he scored a goal, he reacted but he doesn’t need to score because he helps us for many things. Not just scoring a goal. He’s a huge competitor who wants to score goals. OK, I know that, we know that; so he can relax.”
Of course, Haaland’s goals are a vital ingredient of the Champions game
As his overall game improves Haaland’s ability to find the back of the net is crucial to the world champions. It was crucial in City’s weekend win over Everton. Haaland’s brace secured Pep Guardiola’s side a vital 2-nil win last weekend.
While Pep Guardiola said Haaland has room to improve his game he was also quick to point out Haaland’s absurd goal-scoring record. The clip which can be seen below makes the thought of Haaland adding even more tools to his goal-scoring a tantalising one for Manchester City fans.
“Not even Messi or Cristiano had these numbers at his age.”
Pep Guardiola says Erling Haaland putting up numbers that surpass the all time greats 🐐 pic.twitter.com/vwICFhdwGG
— ESPN UK (@ESPNUK) February 13, 2024