EPL

Guardiola defends Haaland as crucial to Man City success after hat-trick heroics

By Sports Desk January 22, 2023

Pep Guardiola defended Erling Haaland's position within Manchester City, arguing the Norway international is not holding his team back this term.

Haaland scored his fourth hat-trick of the Premier League season to blow past last term's Golden Boot tally and reach 25 in Sunday's 3-0 win over Wolves.

Despite his remarkable figures, City are playing catch-up in the title race as Arsenal continue to set the pace.

Some have pinpointed Haaland as a potential issue, with City sometimes adapting to suit his needs rather than vice-versa, but Guardiola knows the talisman's quality. 

"When we lost the Community Shield, all the debates were that he would not adapt to the Premier League," he said.

"When we do not score goals, [people] say he is the problem in this team. We know his quality. We have to adapt some movements for him.

"He is not a player who will take the ball. He has to [have] the balls delivered around him. He's got fantastic players around him. He lives 24 hours for his job.

"He’s not stressed much when it's going well or when it's going bad. His numbers are incredible. But the reality is still that we are behind."

Guardiola issued a scathing attack upon his side's commitment following their 4-2 win over Tottenham earlier this week, having been force to come from two goals down.

Reflecting on a more comfortable victory, the Spaniard acknowledged he had seen improvements, but stressed he would not be getting carried away yet.

"We spoke a little bit what we have to do with the ball," he added. "Without the ball, we didn’t train anything because I would say we didn’t have energy.

"We talk a little bit these days about what we think we miss. It’s just one game. We will see in the future.

"Our football was really, really good. Today we improved. That was just today. We will see what happens in the next games."

Related items

  • Sweden midfielder Kristoffer Olsson hospitalised due to brain condition Sweden midfielder Kristoffer Olsson hospitalised due to brain condition

    Sweden midfielder Kristoffer Olsson is on a ventilator in hospital after collapsing at home due to a brain condition, his club Midtjylland have announced.

    The 28-year-old, who had a spell at Arsenal as a teenager, has not appeared for the Danish club since December and there had been mounting speculation over his absence.

    Midtjylland said in a statement on their official website: “In view of the increasing rumours and speculation that are circulating about the reason for Kristoffer Olsson’s absence in the recent period, we are forced to make this announcement to the public.

    “The 28-year-old Swedish international lost consciousness in his home on Tuesday 20 February and was transferred to Aarhus University Hospital, where he has been admitted and on a ventilator.

    “Kristoffer Olsson is affected by an apparently acute disease related to the brain, which is not caused by self-harm of any kind, nor is the cause due to external factors.

    “A team of Denmark’s leading medical experts is currently working hard to make a diagnosis and initiate the right treatment.”

    Midtjylland called for “respect and understanding” and added: “Everyone at FC Midtjylland is of course deeply affected by Kristoffer’s sudden illness and our thoughts and full support go to Kristoffer and his family.”

    Arsenal wished Olsson, who has won 47 caps for his country, a “full and speedy recovery” on social media.

    Olsson joined the Gunners from Swedish side Norrkoping aged 16 and made one senior appearance as a substitute in a League Cup game against West Brom.

    He is currently in his second permanent spell with Midtjylland and has also had stints at AIK, Krasnodar and Anderlecht.

  • Football rumours: Chelsea eye potential replacement for Mauricio Pochettino Football rumours: Chelsea eye potential replacement for Mauricio Pochettino
    What the papers say

    Big changes could be in the pipeline at Chelsea on and off the pitch this summer, according to various reports. The Daily Mail says Sporting Lisbon boss Ruben Amorim is a possible replacement for manager Mauricio Pochettino.

    On the field, the club are looking to sell defender Trevoh Chalobah, 24, and Albania forward Armando Broja, 22, according to The Daily Telegraph. England midfielder Conor Gallagher, 24, and Spain left-back Marc Cucurella, 25, could also leave in the summer.

    Summer changes are also expected at Manchester United. The Manchester Evening News says Brazil winger Antony, 24, is among the players they would be prepared to sell.

    Victor Osimhen is eyeing a move to the Premier League, according to The Sun. Arsenal and Chelsea are believed to be heading the race for the Napoli striker, 25, although Manchester United and Paris St Germain are also reportedly  interested.

    Social media round-upPlayers to watch

    Alphonso Davies: Real Madrid have reached agreement to sign the Bayern Munich and Canada left-back, 23, in the summer or next year, according to The Athletic.

    Joao Palhinha: Bayern Munich, Liverpool and Arsenal are chasing the Fulham and Portugal midfielder, 28, reports Football Insider.

  • On this day in 2011: Obafemi Martins scores late winner in Carling Cup final On this day in 2011: Obafemi Martins scores late winner in Carling Cup final

    On this day in 2011, Obafemi Martins scored a late winner for Birmingham to beat Arsenal 2-1 in the Carling Cup final.

    Nikola Zigic headed the Blues in front in the 28th minute before Robin van Persie found the equaliser with a volley.

    The game looked destined for extra time when a mix-up at the back from Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny and goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny proved costly.

    Szczesny spilled Zigic’s header after Koscielny mis-kicked the ball and the loose ball rolled into the path of an unmarked Martins.

    The substitute then tucked the ball home into an empty net to seal victory and he described his goal post-match as “the easiest of my career”.

    “I think this is the easiest goal I’ve ever scored in my career – and it’s very important,” Martins said.

    “I’m glad I scored today and I’m glad we won. I think it was my second touch. I’m very happy.”

    Reflecting on the costly mix-up, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger revealed both Szczesny and Koscielny were left “destroyed”.

    He said: “Both of them [Koscielny and Szczesny] are destroyed. We have to lift them up again and help them, that is what a team is about, that is part of the game.

    “It was a lack of communication, determination a little bit as well. Like always, when the ball is in no-man’s land, someone has to take responsibility and go for it.

    “What was amazing [was that] no-one was going for the ball from Birmingham.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.