Haaland happy and ready to start, says Guardiola

AFP , Friday 2 Feb 2024

Pep Guardiola dismissed suggestions that Erling Haaland is not happy at Manchester City on Friday as he said the Norwegian is ready to make his first start in two months.

Manchester City
Manchester City s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola (R) speaks to Manchester City s Norwegian striker #09 Erling Haaland before he enters the pitch during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Burnley at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north west England, on January 31, 2024. AFP


Spanish media have speculated in recent days that Haaland could turn his back on City for Real Madrid after being surprisingly overlooked for the top individual awards despite Guardiola's men winning the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup last season.

However, Guardiola said the 23-year-old will have a smile back on his face now that he is fit after a foot injury.

"You have to ask the media from Madrid if he is unhappy," said Guardiola on Friday.

"We don't have that feeling that he's unhappy. He was because he could not play - he was two months out injured - but maybe the media from Spain, especially Madrid, have more information than us."

Haaland made his comeback as a second-half substitute in City's routine 3-1 win over Burnley on Wednesday.

The English champions are not in action until Monday when they travel to Brentford.

"Yes, he's ready (to start)," added Guardiola.

"Everyone is ready right now because they are not injured as much. If they are on the bench, they are ready."

Haaland failed to find the net on his return but remains the Premier League's top goalscorer with 14 in 16 appearances this season.

And Guardiola is confident the goals will quickly flow again once his talisman is up to speed.

"He played 25 minutes and every transition, every pass, all the players look at him. I know how important he is for us," said Guardiola.

"We try for all the strikers to be happy, especially him, and it will depend how we play. If we play quite comfortable and good, he will get a lot of balls.

"This is what we want and after that he will do the rest."

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