Pep Guardiola unworried by sub-par Erling Haaland display in Community Shield defeat

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 (The FA via Getty Images)
(The FA via Getty Images)

Pep Guardiola said he has no concerns whatsoever that Erling Haaland will lose confidence after a glaring miss on his Manchester City debut and is sure his new striker can return to goalscoring form in the future.

The £51 million Norwegian hit the bar in injury time in City’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool in the Community Shield when, with Adrian on the ground, he almost had an open goal.

Haaland also had just 16 touches whereas Liverpool’s new signing Darwin Nunez won a penalty and scored their third goal.

But Guardiola expects Haaland, who scored 86 goals in 89 games for Borussia Dortmund, to convert similar chances in the future and does not believe his morale will suffer.

“He’s strong,” he said. “Another time he will put it in the net. It’s football. He was there. He had another goal disallowed because the ball was out so he has this talent and he will do it. It’s good to understand sometimes the situation to know what we have to do.

“I’m not concerned or worried about that. I’d have been happy to win and him score goals but the reality is we have 11 months ahead of us that are so intense - with the World Cup we play every three days - and he is going to help us.”

Erling Haaland missed a gilt-edged opportunity on his Man City debut (PA)
Erling Haaland missed a gilt-edged opportunity on his Man City debut (PA)

Guardiola took heart from Haaland’s ability to get into goalscoring positions, adding: “He had chances; two or three in the first half and one at the end. Always he was there. He fought a lot, and made the movements. It is good for him to see the reality in a new country and a new league but he was there. He didn’t score. He has incredible quality and he will do it.”

Haaland had scored in a pre-season friendly against Bayern Munich in America and while City have often played with a false nine in the last two seasons, Guardiola denied it will be difficult to adjust to a more conventional centre-forward.

He added: “ We played with a No.9 many times last season with Gabriel [Jesus]. Sometimes we played with the quality but he is going to help us a lot. When Erling Haaland scored in the States everyone talked about how impressive he was. He was there and had the chances: nothing changes.”