Erling Haaland’s performance in Manchester City’s victory over Bournemouth was surprisingly subdued, but Pep Guardiola has confidence that he will adjust to the Premier League.
Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, and an own goal from Jefferson Lerma were the key players in the Cityzens’ rout of the Cherries on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium.
Even though Haaland contributed to Gundogan’s opening goal, his overall performance in this Premier League home debut was rather disappointing. Only eight times during the entire game did the young forward touch the ball, and only two of his passes were completed.
Haaland’s performance was explained by Guardiola in a postgame interview, who claimed that Bournemouth’s strategies on that particular day kept him at bay:
“The most difficult job in the world is when you are a striker against a [defence] with three central midfielders, three centre-backs and you are in the middle.
“We will find many of these situations but it’s a question of time. With the quality of player we have behind him [Haaland], we will find him.”
Guardiola also discussed the game in general, praising his team’s performance: “As a team we did a really good performance, a team that was well-structured defensively but also offensively.
“They have a good pattern for the build-up to attract you and after they link perfectly with the strikers, quite similar movement like Tottenham and defensively they defend so deep and narrow. We start really well, we did three or four corners in six or seven minutes, we had chances and after we score one and two and second half when they don’t want to press we just have to be patient. We make a really good performance.”