Pep Guardiola backs ‘quiet’ Erling Haaland to handle Manchester City spotlight

Pep Guardiola was impressed by Erling Haaland’s ‘calm’ demeanor in training but insists it’s difficult to know how he handles the pressure off the pitch unless he spends all his hours with the striker, joking: ‘I’m sleeping not with him !”

One of the hottest young properties in the game, Haaland has garnered a lot of attention since his much-hyped move to Guardiola’s Manchester City.

The Norwegian took it all with an excellent performance of two goals as the champions won on their Premier League debut at West Ham last weekend.

Guardiola (right) hopes Haaland (left) can stay calm (John Walton/PA)

(PA wire)

Not surprisingly, the 22-year-old’s topic dominated Guardiola’s post-match interview at the London Stadium.

This comes after numerous questions about Haaland following the Community Shield last week – when he missed a gold-rimmed chance against Liverpool – and he was again the center of attention as Guardiola met the media to preview Saturday’s clash with Bournemouth see.

“I don’t sleep with him!” Guardiola joked when asked again about the former Borussia Dortmund striker, this time in relation to how he handles pressure. “I’m not at his house so I don’t know how he handles it.

“But what I see in the training session is that he was calm after Liverpool and calm after West Ham.”

I will encourage him to be a better player, a better finisher

pep Guardiola

Guardiola believes the attention paid to Haaland meant the criticism he received after Liverpool’s miss was overdone. He has no doubt that he can excel at the highest level if he stays level-headed.

“The moment he doesn’t score goals, they’ll say maybe he’s not good,” said Guardiola. “It looks like the end of the world is coming. In the bad situations, everything goes bad.

“But in the bad moments you have to stay calm and the best teams stay positive.

“He’s a top striker and if you name the greatest strikers of all time at that age – how many goals – he’s the greatest. But he’s still young.

“I’m going to encourage him to be a better player, a better finisher and (he has to) think ‘today I’ll be better than yesterday’. When that happens, he has the skills to be one of the top scorers of all time.”

Marc Cucurella joined Chelsea from Brighton after City’s interest waned (Nick Potts/PA)

(PA wire)

City are closer to signing a new left-back in Sergio Gomez after agreeing an initial £11million fee with Anderlecht.

The Spain Under-21 international was initially slated as a development player but will now join the first-team as there are no senior options available at his position.

His arrival will therefore end City’s search for a left-back this summer – having previously lost to Chelsea to Brighton’s Marc Cucurella – and in all likelihood end their transfer activity for the summer too.

Guardiola said: “The club’s first action was to sign him and loan him out, but the moment we couldn’t go ahead with Cucurella because the club decided we weren’t going to pay that amount of money, I said, ‘OK, guess (again) pondering the idea of ​​loaning Sergio out.

“I am very, very happy with the team. It’s not (big) in terms of numbers, but there’s incredible versatility and they all have tremendous quality. If no one moves, I think no one will come in.”

Guardiola keen for Bernardo Silva to stay at Etihad Stadium (Martin Rickett/PA)

(PA wire)

The restriction was when no one else leaves and significant speculation remains about Bernardo Silva’s future, with the playmaker still being linked with Barcelona.

“I want 100 percent that he stays,” said Guardiola von Silva. “I love him. I get weak talking about him!

“He is a special person. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but he knows how much we like and want and love him.” Pep Guardiola backs ‘quiet’ Erling Haaland to handle Manchester City spotlight

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