EPL

Haaland will not 'think too much' as he prepares for Premier League debut

By Sports Desk August 06, 2022

Erling Haaland has said he will not dwell on missed chances as he prepares for his Premier League debut with Manchester City.

The Premier League champions begin their title defence at West Ham on Sunday, and spread further fear throughout the league when they sealed the signing of Haaland in June.

However, his debut in a City shirt did not go according to plan as he drew a blank in the 3-1 Community Shield defeat to Liverpool, including hitting the crossbar from point-blank range late on.

Speaking to former Newcastle United and England striker Alan Shearer for BBC Sport and The Athletic, the 22-year-old outlined his process as a goalscorer, and why he will not allow those misses to be carried into future games.

"As a striker, I think it's really important that when you're in the game to not think too much," Haaland said. "If I'm going to go into my next game thinking about the chance I missed last game, it's not good.

"You have to go into the game hungry. It doesn't matter what happened before, if you scored three goals, if you scored zero goals, if you haven't scored in a while. You have to go into the game with the same mentality. And so I think about not thinking too much about it."

Haaland scored 86 goals in 89 games in two-and-a-half years at Borussia Dortmund, but admitted there is extra pressure that comes with playing for City, who have won four of the last five Premier League titles, including pipping Liverpool by one point last season.

"Yes, of course it's pressure," he said. "I'm playing for the champions... so there's pressure, but in my head, it's about trying to go out on the pitch smiling as much as I can and to try to enjoy the game. Because life goes fast and suddenly my career is over.

"You saw that with my father (who retired aged 30 due to injury), suddenly it's over. So it's about trying to enjoy every single minute of it because I'm really lucky to have this job and to be here.

"In the end, we just want to enjoy playing football, enjoy what our childhood dream was. There will be people talking about you, especially as a striker if you don't score, then the talk comes, but in the end you cannot choose what people say, what people read, what people think about you.

"This is something you just have to live with. And yeah, I kind of enjoy it."

Haaland also outlined his early impressions of working with Pep Guardiola, who has won four Premier League titles, four EFL Cups and an FA Cup since arriving as manager in 2016.

"He's demanding in his messages about what to do and about doing everything at 100 per cent," he added. "It doesn't matter if it's a normal kind of running exercise, do it at 100 per cent, like you do it on the pitch. Train as you play. Easy as that."

The imposing striker is hoping to bring something extra to City, who were eliminated from the Champions League in agonising fashion by eventual winners Real Madrid in the semi-finals last season. 

"We come as champions from last year, so we have to do the same kind of things they did and hopefully even better," Haaland said.

"In the important games be even better, the Champions League and the cups, and also to maintain all the time in the Premier League.

"It's not easy as we know. It's a difficult league, so many good teams, but it's about building on what they have been having here for so many years.

"I want to come in here and bring my own kind of things to the game and hopefully be better."

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