Pep Guardiola explains the real reason why he started Erling Haaland against FC Copenhagen

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Redaction Simon Brett with Dan Murphy
Published on 2024-03-07 13:00:00

In the recent Champions League match against FC Copenhagen, Pep Guardiola made a bold decision to start Erling Haaland despite the upcoming important showdown against Liverpool. Manchester City extended their unbeaten streak to 20 matches with a 3-1 victory, securing a spot in the quarter-finals.

The first half saw goals from Manuel Akanji, Julian Alvarez, and Haaland, contributing to City’s comfortable win. Guardiola strategically substituted Rodri at half-time to prepare for the Liverpool match and rested key players like De Bruyne, Foden, Walker, Ake, and Silva. However, he opted to keep Haaland on the pitch until the 88th minute, taking a calculated risk with the striker’s fitness.

In a post-match interview with TNT Sport, Guardiola defended his decision to play Haaland, emphasizing the player’s need for game time and rhythm.

He said: “When you introduce me to a player who doesn’t want to play all the minutes during the games I will be surprised.

“But he needs rhythm, he needs to play. We need him. He make an incredible goal, a really nice one. Really good.”

Despite Haaland’s recent goal-scoring form, Guardiola believes that the young forward still has room for improvement and requires more minutes on the field to reach his peak performance level.

Haaland, who recently returned from injury, is gradually regaining full fitness and form. While he has displayed his goal-scoring prowess in previous matches, Guardiola understands the importance of providing him with ample playing time to accelerate his recovery process.

As City prepares to face Liverpool, Haaland’s involvement in the crucial game is vital, and Guardiola’s decision to start him against FC Copenhagen could prove beneficial in the long run. By prioritizing the striker’s development and fitness, Guardiola aims to optimize Haaland’s contributions on the field during pivotal matches.

Read Original article on Manchester City News

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