- Newcastle – Manchester City, at 17.30 Sunday
MANCHESTER (Dagbladet): It was 2:45pm on a Friday this week, two days before the game against Newcastle on Sunday. That was the part when Pep Guardiola’s press conference went from open to closed.
That’s when the journalists from the English Sunday newspaper asked their questions. Simply because there is a deadline for citations, and they can present their “exclusive” in a full paper newspaper on the last day of the week.
Now we have come to this point. The scene is City’s training facility, a stone’s throw from the Etihad Stadium.
A journalist wants to know if Haaland – who “has been successful on the pitch” – has also contributed to strengthening morale in the City dressing room.
Guardiola pointed out that it is an easy dressing room to get into. There is big equipment around which ensures that the players can establish themselves with families. He then went a step further in his analysis of last Saturday’s Bournemouth match, in which Haaland only touched the ball eight times.
– Considering the rhythm of his game: We must not forget that before Liverpool and West Ham he had not played 90 minutes in four or five months due to injury. He needs time, but he’s getting better. It’s getting truer in every training session, and the interaction will come, said Guardiola.
– Goalscorers like Erling and Sergio Agüero live to score. But what matters most to you is that they contribute to the team. In what way do you believe that even if he doesn’t score, his contribution to the team will still be important?
– I think players like Sergio and Erling know that the starting point is that they have to help win games. But at the same time, I can’t deny that they are there to score. The striker said to himself: “We won, but I wanted to score.” We need this mentality.
– In the last game he (Erling) was less involved. When I stand on the touchline and watch the game, I feel: “Wow, there’s no space.” They lay deep. It’s like you are in prison. There is so little space. But there is room. Therefore, we need time to know the tempo, proper movement, and interaction with other players. I’ve said it before, but it’s a matter of time.
Especially at the Etihad Stadium, it will be common to meet a defense-oriented team.
– We have to be faster when we meet a team like this. Top and high-quality players around the world have to move in smaller spaces. And that applies especially to strikers. This is the most difficult position in the whole world. You have some opponents who are closer to you, said Guardiola.
– We have to be more precise. Erling and Julián lvarez are moving well – so are Sergio Agüero and Gabriel Jesus. This will not be a problem in the future. That’s how I feel, although I could be wrong.
National team coach Ståle Solbakken told Dagbladet this week that Haaland looked “fit”. Guardiola has previously spoken that he needs August to be close to his best.
For the first time, the Premier League will have an extended break due to the World Cup in Qatar from November 20 to December 18. At a press conference, a journalist wanted to know:
– Norway didn’t make it to the toilet. Does this mean Haaland will be playing more games from now until November, when you know he’ll be taking a break?
– No, absolutely not. The decisions we make between now and the WC have nothing to do with the WC. In the same way that nothing happens in the World Cup by looking at what will happen in the second half of the season for the club, said Guardiola.
– Erling will play, because we have the feeling that he should play. And he has to play well. There is competition for space. Julián lvarez can also play there. It’s about making decisions that help us win games and it’s in the best interests of the club.
– Unfortunately for him and Norway, they didn’t make it to the WC. He’ll have a week or two off, then he’ll be back in training. After the WC, he will be ready to move on.
– Players who go to the WC, you don’t know about adapting the program for them?
– No, we make the program day by day. Maybe week after week. If someone feels tired, then we turn it around. Decisions are made in the here and now and not with WC in mind. I apologize for that.
The game against Newcastle kicks off at 17:30 on Sunday.
Haaland has two goals and an assist after two Premier League games. What can he do in St. James’ Park?
– He is definitely a prodigious talent, says Newcastle boss Eddie Howe.
– You saw the goals he has scored. He made it look so easy. He wants to change Manchester City as a team. Now they get a focal point at the top – the predators – who will score with half chances. We must be aware of that.
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