Haaland loving life under Guardiola despite demands

AFP , Thursday 4 May 2023

Erling Haaland said he is loving the challenge of meeting Pep Guardiola's demands as Manchester City close in on a potential treble in the Norwegian's first season in England.

Manchester City s head coach Pep Guardiola, right embraces Manchester City s Erling Haaland after the end of the English Premier League soccer match between Fulham and Manchester City at Craven Cottage in London, Sunday, April 30, 2023. City won the game 2-1. Photo: AP


Haaland set a new Premier League record of 35 goals in a season as he took his tally for the campaign in all competitions to 51 against West Ham on Wednesday.

Victory took City back one point ahead of Arsenal at the top of the table, with a game in hand to come.

Guardiola's team face Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-finals later this month and Manchester United in the FA Cup final on June 3.

City had won back-to-back league titles largely without a focal point up front prior to Haaland's arrival.

But suggestions he would struggle to fit into Guardiola's system have long since been forgotten.

"I am enjoying it every single game," Haaland said of life under the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss.

"It's hard, he demands a lot, but I try to do my best to develop and do my best on the pitch. That's what you have to do - nothing more to do than do your best.

"It's a pleasure and I love to play under Pep. I'm really happy to have him as a coach."

Haaland's goal record could have been even greater had Guardiola not taken the opportunity to often rest the 22-year-old once games are won throughout the course of the season.

But that has paid dividends as the striker has largely remained free from injury in contrast to his two-and-a-half years at Borussia Dortmund.

"Potentially nine games left and I'm enjoying it," added Haaland amid suggestions he could be rested for Saturday's visit of Leeds in the Premier League just three days before City travel to Madrid.

"To have games all the time, this is something I love so we will see.

"We are in good shape, the mentality's right. The only thing we can do is focus on the next game and try to win the next game.

"Now it's Leeds, we have to focus on the game, we have to only think of that game and to try to win it."

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