October 17, 2021

‘A blind guy can realise he’s fantastic!’ – Guardiola making plans to stop Haaland as Man City prepare for Dortmund

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The Bundesliga club’s striker has been linked with a move to the Premier League leaders and the Citizens boss admits he is exceptional

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City’s best chance of stopping Erling Haaland is to starve him of chances ahead of their Champions League quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund.

The Nowegian international has become one of the hottest properties in Europe after scoring 33 goals in 32 appearances for the Bundesliga club this season.

City are among the clubs that have been heavily linked with a move for the 20-year-old, although Guardiola said last week that the Premier League leaders may not be able to afford a replacement for Sergio Aguero when the striker leaves in the summer.

What’s been said?

“He’s fantastic, everyone knows it. A blind guy can realise he’s fantastic, it’s not necessary to be a manager to realise it,” Guardiola said of Haaland ahead of Tuesday’s first leg at Etihad Stadium.

Asked about how to stop him, the City boss added:  “The strikers who score goals are going to score more goals when they are in our box. When they have more minutes as far as away from our box, they have less chances.

“Not just Haaland – Vardy, Salah, Gabriel [Jesus], Aguero – all the strikers around the world they want to be there as much as possible. So the best way is avoid them being there as much as possible.”

The bigger picture

With City 14 points clear at the top of the Premier League, Guardiola’s side have a real opportunity of challenging for the quadruple, but the Champions League remains the toughest trophy to win.

Guardiola won the competition twice with Barcelona but has so far failed to get beyond the quarter-final stage with City in four attempts.

Last season’s defeat came at the hands of Lyon, who finished seventh in Ligue 1, and the Catalan admitted that it was painful for a long time aferwards.

“It remained in my head for weeks, it was painful, I cannot deny it,” Guardiola added. “It was the last game of the season and we wanted to go through.

“We congratulated Lyon, accepted that we didn’t do it quite well or we didn’t deserve to go through. It was painful but at the end what could we do? After a few days, wake up again and prepare for next season. We are here again to try again, but the defeats hurt.”

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