Guardiola ‘Cannot Deny the Influence’ of Haaland Ahead of Bayern Clash

Guardiola ‘Cannot Deny the Influence’ of Haaland Ahead of Bayern Clash
Southampton, England, 8th April 2023. Erling Haaland of Manchester City celebrates after scoring to make it 3-0 during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton. Picture credit should read: Paul Terry / Sportimage - Photo by Icon sport

Man City boss Pep Guardiola has urged Erling Haaland to be on form and earn his first win over the German giants in the two sides’ Champions League quarter-final clash later this week.

In his debut season with Guardiola’s Premier League side, Erling Haaland has accomplished several remarkable firsts.

The Norwegian striker has scored 30 Premier League goals in the fewest number of games, and is on his way to scoring 44 goals in all competitions this season.

More records are likely to be set as a result of Haaland’s incredible exploits this season, and the City striker will be seeking another first on Tuesday night as he seeks to defeat Bayern for the first time in his glittering career.

Haaland faced Bayern seven times with former club Borussia Dortmund, netting five goals against them but always ending up on the losing side.

However, with the City striker scoring for fun this year, Pep Guardiola will be hoping his star striker can inspire the English side to a first-leg victory against Bayern on Tuesday.

Guardiola: ‘I Cannot Deny the Influence’

“Erling is so important for us,” Guardiola stated ahead of the game.

“I cannot deny the goals and the influence,” he said, “He came to help us to be here in the Champions League, but at the same time to help us in the Premier League and FA Cup.”

“It’s important to have a player who can score a goal from nothing, but we’ve scored many goals for many years in the Champions League,” the manager said, “Against Monaco, we scored six goals and were out. Against Tottenham, we scored four goals and were out. We scored four goals against Madrid and were out.”

“I always had the feeling that we scored with a false nine, with Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, with Erling. We’ve always scored goals. That was not the problem.”


The problem for City in the latter phases of the Champions League has been preventing opponents from scoring in crucial moments.

City led Real Madrid 1-0 in the second leg of their Champions League semi-final last season, 5-3 on aggregate, before conceding twice in the 90th minute and losing in extra time.

Against that backdrop, Guardiola acknowledged the need for better defending if City are to have any hope of going all the way in the Champions League.

“Attack better and defend what you have to defend,” the Spaniard stated.

“In these games, we compete against ourselves. The moment we start a game, we have to perform our best. Everyone, in every department, has to be focused on what we’re doing and what we have to do.”

Guardiola Was ‘Sad’ After Chelsea Defeat in 2021

Guardiola faces Thomas Tuchel, who led Chelsea to a 1-0 win over City in the Champions League final in Porto in 2021.

Guardiola insisted that he is not haunted by that defeat, but conceded that City did not do enough to win the game and ultimately conquer Europe.

“I was sad but I congratulated him and Chelsea for the victory,” said Guardiola.

“I reviewed the game a month later,” he explained,  “It wasn’t as bad as I thought, but at the same time it was not a good enough performance to win it.”

“It was a tight, tight game, like they always have been against Chelsea in that period. So forget it and try again.”


Guardiola, who spent three years with Bayern before joining City, is aware that the German champions will believe they can win Tuesday night at the Etihad Stadium.

“Bayern are not a team built to think it’s going to happen in the second leg,” he said.

“It’s a team built to come here to win. From my experience when I was there, I had the feeling that it doesn’t matter where you play, you have to win.”


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