Haaland urged to 'play with passion' vs Chelsea as Guardiola defends Man City star's feisty display in Everton draw
- Haaland was aggressive against Everton
- Guardiola urges him to keep going for 'extra limit'
- Says City must be almost perfect to catch Arsenal
WHAT HAPPENED? The Norwegian was involved in a feisty battle with Toffees centre-back Ben Godfrey throughout the New Year's Eve contest. Godfrey seemingly got under Haaland's skin as he was seen whipping up the crowd after winning a freekick and went on to celebrate in front of the defender after scoring his 21st Premier League goal of the season. He was also cautioned after a lunging tackle on Vitaliy Mykolenko before he caught James Tarkowski with an outspread arm. Afterwards, Guardiola revealed that he did have a word with the striker about keeping his emotions in check, but the City boss doesn't want him to hold back at Stamford Bridge on Thursday night.
WHAT THEY SAID: Guardiola wants to see the same "passion" in City's crucial clash with Chelsea, as he told a pre-match press conference: "I like it, the extra limit. Not just him, everyone. His behaviours, you always have to use [points to his head]. But play with this passion. That is necessary. I prefer that than to be flat. Strikers have to handle tough, tough central defenders. It's necessary. Tomorrow he'll have a battle with Koulibaly and Thiago Silva. Always it's a big challenge and that's why the Premier League is so special."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Guardiola expects another "tough" test against the Blues and has admitted City cannot afford any more slip-ups in their pursuit of league leaders Arsenal. "[It will be a] tough game, tough side, well managed, Stamford Bridge, what can you say, always difficult, looking forward to this week, the different competitions and the next three games," he added.
"We have to reduce the gap by playing good and winning games, but they could do more than 100 points if they keep this average and we will not catch them, we have to be almost perfect and hope they drop, last night [against Newcastle] they were excellent."
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WHAT NEXT FOR MANCHESTER CITY? The reigning champions are set to play three games in the next eight days. They will face Chelsea on Thursday and Sunday in the Premier League and FA Cup respectively before turning their attention to a League Cup quarter-final clash with Southampton on January 11.