‘Happiness is overestimated!’ - Pep Guardiola understands Erling Haaland frustration & takes the blame for touch numbers

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Erling Haaland Manchester City 2022-23
Pep Guardiola is prepared to shoulder the blame for Erling Haaland’s touch numbers, with Manchester City working on getting him into the game more.
  • Norwegian has 32 goals this season
  • Could have had even more
  • Blues working on playing to his strengths

WHAT HAPPENED? The thought of the Norwegian striker seeing even more of the ball for the reigning champions should strike fear into the heart of Premier League defenders, with Haaland already boasting 32 goals to his name through all competitions this season. Questions have, however, been asked of his suitability to Guardiola’s tactical system at times, with the odd game seeing him barely get a kick, and the Blues are still getting to grips with having an out-and-out N.9 at their disposal again.

WHAT THEY SAID: Guardiola has said of Haaland not seeing the ball as much as he would like, with his runs in behind often not being spotted: “It's our fault. Erling has been good all season. It's not metrics, when I finish the game one second later I know if he was involved or not and who should be involved more or not. I don't need numbers or metrics I know exactly. Yes of course, it depends on us. We need to look for him a little more.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Haaland has admitted to being left frustrated at times in a City shirt, with Guardiola adding on those emotions: "In the last game, you are right [he didn't touch the ball enough] but against Nottingham [Forest], no. He had the chances in the first and second half. We talked about that many times it's going to happen. Striker is the most difficult position, one man has two defenders and with Erling it's more. Lately in the last game I would agree, I said more control, more passes. Really intense in the first half, in the second we dropped a little bit and that's why we struggled. Against Leipzig you're going to struggle. In that game we should have looked for him more. It's fine [if he's frustrated], I'm frustrated too, you get frustrated in your life too sometimes I'm sure. Happiness is overestimated!”

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Erling Haaland Manchester City 2022-23

Erling Haaland Manchester City 2022-23

Pep Guardiola Manchester City 2022-23

WHAT NEXT? Haaland should have Kevin De Bruyne picking out passes for him again during a trip to Bournemouth on Saturday, with the Belgian midfielder recovering from the illness that ruled him out of a 1-1 Champions League draw with Leipzig in midweek, but Aymeric Laporte is still feeling a little under the weather.