Pep Guardiola thinks Erling Haaland is so good that he shines in the dark.
Haaland has been sensational since joining Manchester City in the summer, scoring 20 goals in just 13 games for the Premier League champions.
The Norwegian has scored three hat-tricks and also provided three assists.
But not only these numbers impress City coach Guardiola, but also the work of the 22-year-old in the long game phases in which he sees little of the ball.
Guardiola said: “I was really surprised by his mentality. We knew his abilities, but not how he behaves in bad moments, in situations where he’s not involved for 20 minutes.
“He’s never out of the game, he’s always focused. It’s difficult to score if you don’t touch the ball if you’re not involved in the feelings, but he always has that belief and is involved in the process.
“He’s always thinking, ‘I’m going to have a chance, I’m going to arrive, I’m going to have the moment, I’m going to score a goal.’ He is never separated even when not involved much.
“Now he’s more involved than when he started, but even when he’s not involved, he’s never disconnected up here. That’s the most important.”
Haaland has been rested for the first time since joining City for the midweek draw against FC Copenhagen in the Champions League but is ready to return for Sunday’s trip to Liverpool.
Guardiola expects a lot more from the striker, but also expects tough times.
He said: “When a player comes I always expect the best, I always thought this guy was going to score goals.
“So far the numbers are incredible and the most important thing is that he plays regularly. He didn’t have to retire, as unfortunately happened for Borussia Dortmund last season.
“But he came for many years and he just arrived – two or three months.
“He can improve but there are a lot of bad moments coming. At that moment it’s just, ‘OK, do the next one’.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/pep-guardiola-erling-haaland-manchester-city-premier-league-champions-league-b2203627.html He’s never out of the game – Pep Guardiola praises Erling Haaland’s punching power