Pep Guardiola is confident that Erling Haaland and Julián Alvarez can be great goalscorers in their first seasons at Manchester City.
Both strikers could start in Saturday’s Community Shield against Liverpool at King Power Stadium after joining the Premier League champions this summer. Haaland was worth £51.5m from Borussia Dortmund, scoring 85 goals in 88 appearances for the German club, while Álvarez came from River Plate for £14.1m, scoring 53 goals in 120 games for the German club. Argentine team.
City scored 99 Premier League goals last season despite often missing the usual number 9. Guardiola was jokingly asked before meeting Liverpool in Leicester ahead of the Liverpool match if his side could score 199 goals in the upcoming campaign.
“At first we played with a striker [sometimes] last season Gabriel [Jesus] “Striker,” he replied. “Second point: if we make good football, respect the process as we know it, create many chances, put the ball close to the box, what we saw in the numbers with the last assist, we know that Erling and Julián have this incredible talent for scoring goals.
“But they won’t do it alone. We must help them, and the way to help them is to make good processes, offensive, defensive, [create] most chances close to the penalty area. And then we have a feeling that they will score. But if we play badly, if we play badly, they won’t score for sure.”
Guardiola doesn’t think City’s style will change significantly after the arrival of Haaland and Alvarez. “They both have the ability to drop [off] and play football,” he said. “I don’t like it when strikers wait in the penalty area to score a goal, even for them it’s boring. If you ask them, they want to touch the ball, they want to play and that’s what we have to do. And after they have a special flair, flair, quality to score a goal, they will do the rest. I can’t teach them how to score goals, they know what they have to do.”
Haaland City have acquired one of the most desirable strikers in the world. Guardiola gave an idea of his character. “He’s ready to play and the first impression of the guy is very good – a funny guy,” the manager said. “He fit in very well with the team. It is important. Apparently people think it’s not the most important thing, but it’s true: a good mood in the dressing room is more important than any advice or any other thing you can say.
“We’re trying to get along well. [his] family… try to get to know each other in training, see what we want to do, what we did in previous seasons. When I see [him] in the dining room and hallways of the club is really good. Here, the guys are very good at accepting newcomers from day one, so it’s so easy.”
Haaland, however, is not 100% suitable. “When I spoke to him in the last few days, he felt a little better, but he can train and move,” Guardiola said. “At the end of August he will feel better. Now we have one game a week with extra practice. After that, we start a crazy schedule.”
Guardiola also confirmed that he will be without centre-back Aymeric Laporte until September: “He is injured. He had knee surgery after last season. [he] played the last two or three games with a serious injury, making incredible efforts.
“So far, he is doing well, but you need to be careful with the knee problem. I think August will come out, September, I think maybe he will start to be with us.”