Guardiola relishing ‘marvellous’ title challenge, downplays Haaland rumours

Jason Soutar
Pep Guardiola during an interview

Pep Guardiola refused to be drawn on renewed speculation linking Man City with a summer move for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.

Haaland is expected to leave Dortmund in the summer and City are reportedly in pole position to sign the Norwegian international.


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“Since I’m here, every month we are going to sign 50 players,” Guardiola said (via Manchester Evening News). “Right now, it’s impossible I’m going to talk about some guys who aren’t here. Haaland is a Dortmund player.”

“You can ask for this player or another one. The transfer window is going to start and many things will happen.

“Maybe I speak about this club needs a striker for the next 5, 6, 7 years maybe once in 12 months. I’m not going to be the guy with the success because we didn’t have a striker.

“It’s important that if you play good, seven or eight players arrive in the box. This is the best way.”

 

Liverpool are now one point behind the Citizens in the Premier League, but the Spanish manager insists he is relishing the “marvellous” challenge Jurgen Klopp’s side pose to his team.

He said (via Manchester Evening News): “It is what it is. In 14, 15 days, we will come back after the international break, then nine games.

“Everyone knows what we do. It is a marvellous challenge. We try to do it.”

On if Liverpool or City can win a treble this season, Guardiola responded: “If United did it, another team can do it. To break a record is because someone has done it.

“When it happens, I think it will. It’s not easy, but you can do it. In September, October it’s more difficult. Two months left, yeah it can be done. But it happened once in a lifetime.”

City may be chasing glory in the Premier League and the Champions League but Guardiola has no concerns that intensity might drop for Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final at Southampton.

He said: “How do you ask me when these six years we play every game like it’s the last game of our lives.

“I know how difficult it will be away at Southampton. I’m sorry, I trust a lot my team, my players. I know it looks like everything is gone but I trust a lot my players to arrive in every competition who we are.

“Like at Southampton, Crystal Palace. I want to do it with these players, I wouldn’t change one single player for the next two months.”

With Liverpool getting back into the title race, Guardiola was asked if he has learned any lessons about his team over the last month.

The former Barcelona boss responded: “Not much. I know my team quite well after six years. If we win or lose, I don’t learn. The good points we have, the weak points to improve.

“From the emotion inside, second half at Palace we were anxious we wouldn’t win and play like we don’t play. At Goodison Park, how we celebrate the goals against United I know the desire in the team

“I try to tell them, it’s not possible to control the emotion sometimes, they are human beings. Sometimes it’s difficult. Against United, I said be calm, they want to punish on the counter, so be calm. I got messages about the derby, no, be calm. Otherwise we are not good.”

Guardiola added: “In the Premier League we are winning. Right now, the destiny is in our hands.

“We are closer for games in the FA Cup, I don’t count the competitions. I know how difficult it will be at Southampton. Prepare to travel good, play well, and enjoy.”