UK: 18+ USA: 21+ | Begambleaware.org | T&Cs apply | Play Responsibly
Pep Guardiola doesn’t think star striker Erling Haaland will be the key to Champions League glory for Manchester City.
As per LiveScore, the manager believes his defenders are the most important aspect of any success in the competition. Guardiola’s comments come despite Haaland stealing the headlines with a record-breaking five goals in their round of 16 second leg thrashing of RB Leipzig on Tuesday.
Haaland fell one goal short of a double hat-trick in the 7-0 win, with City winning the tie 8-1 on aggregate over the two legs.
Guardiola reveals key to Champions League glory
Guardiola has found success in the competition at former club Barcelona, but Champions League glory has constantly eluded the manager during his reign at City.
He has lifted countless trophies with his current club, but has continuously fallen short of succeeding in Europe’s elite competition. City came closest when they lost the 2020/21 Champions League final to Chelsea.
They are now into the quarter-finals for the sixth successive year, with the boss revealing exactly how they can finally lift the Champions League trophy.
Asked if Haaland will be crucial to success in the competition, Guardiola replied: “I don’t think so. The reason why is we conceded a lot of goals that we gave to the opponent.
“We scored four goals against Real Madrid, we scored six goals against Monaco, we scored four goals against Tottenham, and all the time we were out, because we conceded the goals. We could absolutely avoid it.
“Right now, we defended really well. The goals we have scored all the time in all the seasons.”
Manager highlights Haaland magic
Guardiola did, of course, touch on the magic of Haaland, who became City’s record scorer for a single season with 39 goals. The manager noted how fortunate the club have been and indeed still are to boast some of the world’s best strikers, with Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus once at City, while young star Julian Alvarez is currently among their ranks.
Guardiola continued: “But of course having someone like Erling, like Julian, like we had with Sergio before or Gabriel, who has the instinct to score the goals… in this competition, in one moment, he can score. It’s important.
The manager added: “It was five in 60 minutes, no more than that. If he played 90 minutes… I don’t know. He’s an incredible guy. He has the power, the mentality, he’s a serial winner.”
Guardiola to guide City to treble?
Man City are now into the Champions League last eight after their phenomenal display, with the remaining clubs in the competition undoubtedly keen to avoid them in the next round.
Many have tipped City to lift the trophy this season, but Guardiola must also focus his attention on the Premier League and the FA Cup. Up next for the star-studded squad is an FA Cup fifth round tie with Championship side Burnley on Saturday evening.
The international break then provides City with a brief rest before they continue their Premier League title charge with a crucial match against Liverpool, with the Manchester side currently five points behind leaders Arsenal in the table.
"Get up to much last night?"@ErlingHaaland: pic.twitter.com/DCZ6nrbNZ3
— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 15, 2023