Former Man City player claims ‘Guardiola’s philosophy’ is hampering Haaland progression

Ben Stewart

Didi Hamann remains unconvinced that Erling Haaland is the right player for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City, despite his goal return.

Haaland has had a huge impact in the Premier League and he looks likely to smash several goalscoring records this season.

Despite his return of 32 goals in 32 games, several pundits and fans alike have questioned whether or not Man City are getting the best out of him.

Guardiola’s side drew their Champions League first-leg tie against RB Leipzig and Haaland wasn’t able to find the back of the net.

Hamann still remains unconvinced that Haaland is the right player in Guardiola’s fluid system.

“With Haaland in the team, they [City] don’t dominate teams as they used to do,” Hamann told talkSPORT. “They used to suffocate teams with possession, creating chances.

“The thing that worries me is that with Haaland – and the game at the weekend where they were winning and the same happened yesterday – when they play on the counter attack and are able to use his pace, they can’t get him in the game.

“That what worries me most at the moment about City.”

It is worth noting that City’s average possession in the Premier League has slightly gone down this season with Haaland in the side.

Last season they averaged 68.2% whereas this season they have averaged 64.8% – which is still the highest in the league.

“There’s a question of whether he does make the team better? He’s a brilliant player, it’s not a criticism he’s a brilliant player he already showed it,” the former Man City midfielder added.

“Last season, when everyone said he’s going to City, I said ‘he’s not going to go to City because Haaland is everything City’s not’.

“Maybe you can say he’s the missing piece of the jigsaw but he’s used to football in Salzburg and Dortmund which is so much different from the one City plays.

“It’s just not possible because Guardiola’s philosophy is he wants to pass the ball, he wants to suffocate teams with possession and dominance and they just won’t do it with him because half the time I watch him, it’s like playing with ten men.”

Jamie Carragher also shared a similar opinion about Haaland as he claimed that Man City are not getting the best out of him because of the way they play.

“I think we’re only seeing 60 per cent of Erling Haaland,” Carragher said on Sky Sports. “He’s come from Borussia Dormund and a counter-attacking league where it’s end-to-end, you see that blistering pace he’s got, but we don’t see it [now].

“He may have actually picked the wrong club to get the best out of him. We’re not seeing everything of Erling Haaland.”

Next up for Guardiola’s side is a Premier League fixture against Bournemouth where they will be keen on returning to winning ways.

In the Premier League, they currently sit two points behind Arsenal, with the Gunners holding a game in hand over them.

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