Erling Haaland has been hailed as a “funny person” by Pep Guardiola, but when the Norwegian is unleashed against Liverpool in today’s Community Shield, it won’t be funny at all.
The 22-year-old striker joined Manchester City for £53 million this summer and has quickly made friends with his new teammates, emerging as the team’s goofball.
The Spanish manager is happy that the striking wonder has adapted so well to life at the team and has praised his arrival.
“The first impression of him is really good, a funny guy.’ Guardiola said.
“He’s settled really well with the team.
“That is important. Apparently people think it’s not one of the most important things but it is.
“The good vibes in the locker room is more important than any advice.
“We try to help him settle well with the family, house and try to get to know each other in training.
“Then the quality will do the rest.”
In the Community Shield matchup between Manchester City and Liverpool on Saturday, the Spanish manager has no qualms about unleashing his new, flashy forward on his adversaries.
“He is ready to play. He feels good.’ the 51-year-old said.
“When I spoke with him over the last couple of days, he feels a few little niggles but he can train and move.
“At the end of August, he will be better than now.
“Now we have one game a week, with more training.
“[Haaland and Julian Alvarez] have the special sense, smell, quality to score a goal.
“If we play good football, create a lot of chances, put the ball close to the box…
“If we do that, we know Erling and Julian have this incredible talent to score goals.
“But they will not do it alone. We have to help them.’
The other offensive player to join City this summer is Julian Alvaraz, who joined from River Plate in January.
The Chilean is a bit of an unknown in Europe, but Guardiola thinks he can make a significant contribution to the team and create a dangerous relationship with Erling Haaland.
“If we play with tighter wings, I see [Alvarez] as complementary to Haaland.
“If we play with more open flanks, not so much.
” Julian has already adapted. A good player can adapt in the space of two afternoons.
“If you’ve got it, you’ve got it in Argentina and in England.’
The 22-year-old has spent his whole playing career at River under Marcelo Gallardo, but Guardiola doesn’t have any concerns about Alvarez’s ability to adjust to the Premier League and thinks Alvarez is ready to go.
“We were not wrong about Julian. He is a team player,’ he continued.
“He can score, he knows where the goal is. He is an extraordinary signing.
“We are going to make the most of Gallardo’s work and we hope to add some things to his game.
“We want him to feel good, he has already adapted.
“Julian has come from a big team, with the obligation to win and keep winning.
“That is what River is about, just like Boca. That is drummed into a player’s head.
“We also bought that mentality.”