Guardiola adamant Man City cannot solely rely on Haaland heroics to win Champions League

By Sports Desk September 05, 2022

Pep Guardiola appreciates having Erling Haaland's "special quality" at his disposal but is adamant Manchester City will not win the Champions League by relying solely on the Norwegian.

Haaland has enjoyed a tremendous start to life at City, scoring 10 goals in his first six Premier League games to equal the division's record for the fewest matches required to reach double-figures.

Before the season began, some suggested Haaland might require a bit of time to get up to speed, but his early form has made a mockery of his critics.

However, many feel that making a difference in the Premier League is not the reason for City signing Haaland, rather he was purchased to be decisive when the margins are much smaller – in the Champions League.

Despite massive investment ever since their 2008 takeover, the Champions League title has eluded City, who have reached the final only once.

The hope is an already exceptional City side finally have what they were missing in Haaland, but Guardiola recognises the need to not take him for granted.

"All the players, they try to make us better, otherwise it makes no sense," he told reporters ahead of Tuesday's Group G opener against Sevilla.

"That helps us to win titles? I don't know. If we rely all on Erling's shoulders, we don't win the Champions League. We try to create chances for him to score goals.

"We convinced him to come here, we felt we didn't have many strikers. He tries to be involved in the way we play. He settles well like Julian [Alvarez] and other players.

"I understand everyone talks about Erling, but I have three, four, five new players and it's important they all settle.

"We don't win just for Erling and don't lose just for Erling. He has a special quality and might be able to solve some problems, but if we don't play good, we aren't going to win games."

Few will consider City anything other than overwhelming favourites on Tuesday, however.

They face a Sevilla side who have taken just one point from their first four LaLiga games and have the worst open play expected goals against record of all teams (6.3).

The departures of Jules Kounde and Diego Carlos have proven problematic, though Guardiola still considers their European pedigree as something to behold, recognising City's history on the continent does not compare to Sevilla's six UEFA Cup/Europa League crowns.

"It's a difficult competition and we are proud to be here again," he said. "Tomorrow on the pitch, against Borussia Dortmund and Copenhagen, it depends on our performance. If we are not good, we go home and get punishments from fans and media and then after a while move forward.

"Last season we fought to be here, we know how difficult it will be. Spanish teams dominate Europe, I'd love to have a story like Sevilla has; City are far away from Sevilla in Europe.

"Tomorrow, don't miss the spectacle in this stadium. We'll just try to do a good game and try to get three points."

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