Monday, January 30, 2023

Pep Guardiola hints at new Erling Haaland worry after shock World Cup claim

Pep Guardiola hints at new Erling Haaland worry after shock World Cup claim

Pep Guardiola, manager of Manchester City, believes individuals returning from World Cup international duty will be in greater condition than those who did not play in Qatar.

In the fourth round of the Carabao Cup, the defending Premier League champions will host their long-standing title rivals Liverpool.

The visit of Jurgen Klopp’s squad will be City’s first competitive match since the beginning of November.

City’s players accumulated more World Cup minutes than any of their top-six competitors, and the club sent 16 players to Qatar, with Julian Alvarez winning the competition by going the whole distance.

Some managers may be concerned by this, but Guardiola has taken a rather different position and is notably optimistic about their comeback.

Before the League Cup match against the Reds, the City manager stated. “We will see. I have a feeling the players in the World Cup are a better condition than we were here.

“Sergio [Gomez], Erling [Haaland], Riyad [Mahrez], Cole [Palmer], they miss a little bit. Compared to Manu [Akanji], Rodri, Aymeric [Laporte]. The players who come back competed and trained every day, while we had a holiday.

“That’s why tomorrow is important. To keep the rhythm and for the players who were not at the World Cup, to gain that rhythm.”

Erling Haaland, City’s talismanic forward, missed the World Cup. He has been in phenomenal form this season, scoring an astounding 18 league goals in 13 matches.

Given that he’s had more than a month off, many have predicted that the Norwegian striker will maintain his impressive form in front of goal during the second half of the season. However, Guardiola’s latest statements tend to indicate he is not so confident.

After a brief period of recuperation and, perhaps, some celebration, Alvarez will return to give even more firepower to City’s attack as they seek their fifth league championship in six years.

City is currently in an unfamiliar second place, five points behind the surprise league leaders Arsenal, who are managed by Mikel Arteta, Guardiola’s former assistant.

Gabriel Jesus, a former City player who now plays for Arsenal, is undergoing knee surgery, so Guardiola is optimistic that his team can catch and pass the Gunners.

Pep Guardiola hints at new Erling Haaland worry after shock World Cup claim

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