Pep Guardiola makes Erling Haaland observation ahead of Man City Premier League test
‘Happiness is overestimated!’: Pep Guardiola makes Erling Haaland and Man City observation
Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

‘Happiness is overestimated!’: Pep Guardiola makes Erling Haaland and Man City observation

Pep Guardiola believes it is understandable that Erling Haaland sometimes gets frustrated when playing for Manchester City, but he has warned critics not to look too deeply into the issue.

City’s 3-1 defeat of Arsenal last week seemed to go some way to combatting claims that Haaland and Guardiola’s side do not suit each other, but after successive 1-1 draws against Nottingham Forest and RB Leipzig, the issue is once again a topic of discussion.

Against Leipzig on Wednesday the striker had very little impact on the game, and on a few occasions, he looked visibly annoyed when his teammates failed to get the ball to him when he was in space.

Haaland has cut a frustrated figure on a more regular basis as the season has progressed and City have struggled to string results together.

During his press conference before City’s Premier League trip to Bournemouth on Saturday, Guardiola was asked if it’s a problem if Haaland shows his frustration on the pitch.

What did Guardiola say?

“Of course, it’s fine [if he’s frustrated], I am frustrated too, you are frustrated too in your life sometimes? It happens. Happiness is overestimated!”, Guardiola said.

When pressed further, Guardiola argued that Haaland could only have been frustrated with himself against Nottingham Forest, but conceded that against Leipzig his teammates did not involve him enough.

“In the last game, you are right [he didn’t touch the ball enough] but against Nottingham, no,” Pep said.

“Do don’t make one game like a theory. Because he had the chances at Nottingham in the first and the second half. But of course, we have to and will improve. We talked about that many times and it’s going to happen.

“Striker is the most difficult position in the world, because they have two players just focus on him and now for Erling, they have an extra more.

“So it’s not easy to do that. I would like to see… in my period here the strikers that we had like Sergio [Aguero], Gabriel [Jesus], when we play a proper striker – not false-9 or a different way – how many balls do they touch?

“So I don’t know, I don’t have the statistics but always our [play] is not give the ball [to the] striker, have the ball striker, have the ball striker. It happened against Arsenal because Arsenal go man-to-man, you should play more long balls. So our process is more and the final action is there. But even with that we have to all the time, one eye where is he, where is he.

“In the last game I would agree with you we didn’t [give Haaland the ball enough], I said more control, more passes than usual. I don’t want to let them win.”

Should supporters be concerned?

Many City fans have been saying for weeks that City’s midfielders don’t get the ball to Haaland quick enough, so they will be pleased that Guardiola has finally acknowledged it.

While looking frustrated and dejected on the pitch might not be a good look, supporters won’t be too worried that that will in any way affect Haaland’s performances. In anything, he will be more fired up than ever when he next takes to the pitch.

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