MANCHESTER, England : Erling Haaland is blameless for the fact that he has struggled to impose himself in Manchester City’s recent matches, coach Pep Guardiola said on Friday, insisting the Norwegian’s team mates must find him more often.
Haaland has scored 32 goals in all competitions in a remarkable debut season in England, but has netted just once in his last six matches.
The 22-year-old was particularly ineffective against RB Leipzig in the Champions League in midweek, mustering one shot at goal while having just 22 touches.
“It’s our fault,” Guardiola told a news conference on Friday looking ahead to this weekend’s Premier League trip to Bournemouth.
“Erling has been good all season. It’s not metrics, when I finish the game one second later I know if he was involved or not and who should be involved more or not. I don’t need numbers or metrics I know exactly.
“Yes of course, it depends on us. We need to look for him a little more. Striker is the most difficult position, one man has two defenders (around him) and with Erling it’s more. It’s fine (if he’s frustrated), I’m frustrated too. Happiness is overestimated!”
City looked to have stolen a march on title rivals Arsenal with victory at the Emirates Stadium last week, only to drop to points at Nottingham Forest in the following match to allow the Gunners to climb back to the top of the standings.
Arsenal hold a two-point lead going into the weekend’s matches, but Guardiola admitted, without naming them, that Manchester United cannot be discounted in third.
“When I got here everyone warned me this is not the same as Spain or Germany, welcome to the UK,” Guardiola added. “Unfortunately, it’s been a two horse race but now finally there is more.”
Guardiola also added that midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who missed the midweek trip to Leipzig, could be fit to return to face Bournemouth, but defenders John Stones and Aymeric Laporte are likely to remain on the sidelines.