Guardiola backs Haaland despite firing blank on home debut
Getty Images

Manchester City supporters should not fret after Erling Haaland failed to score on his home debut against Bournemouth, Pep Guardiola said. The club’s star signing failed to get on the scoresheet as the home team ran out 4-0 winners against the newly-promoted side.

Haaland, who scored twice against West Ham United last weekend on his Premier League debut, provided an assist for Ilkay Gundogan against Bournemouth but could not take two chances of his own. Phil Foden, who scored City’s third, failed to tee up the summer signing early in the game, much to the Norwegian’s frustration.

However, Haaland’s first touch of the match was the 19th-minute assist which helped City break the deadlock. Overall, it was a solid home debut and his movement pulled the Bournemouth defence apart before being substituted for fellow newcomer Julian Alvarez.

He plays the most difficult job in the world,” Guardiola said of the 22-year-old. “When you are a striker and in the defensive areas, teams like Bournemouth have three central defenders and two players in front and you are in the middle, how can you survive in that?

It’s so difficult. We know it. We’ll find many situations. It’s just a question of time. The right moments, the right movements, and with the quality of the players we have behind him to assist him we’ll find him. I don’t have any doubts about that. We have seen it in the past with other teams. We have to be patient.”

Haaland’s input on the scoresheet was not needed on the day. Kevin De Bruyne added a second before teeing up Foden at the end of a sweeping counter-attack to leave Guardiola’s side in complete control by half-time, and a late own goal from Jefferson Lerma, forced by Joao Cancelo, capped a comfortable win.

The team did a really good performance against a team that is well structured defensively and offensively as well with good patterns,” Guardiola added. “They defend so deep, so narrow, you have to go outside. We started really well with three or four corners after just six or seven minutes, lots of chances. Phil did not see Erling in that position but we were patient.

It was a warm day. It was not easy for so many reasons but we make a really, really good performance.

'Our season is not this'

Chasing City around the pitch on a blisteringly hot afternoon proved tough for Bournemouth. It acted as a reality check on the hardest the Premier League has to offer after their 2-0 win over Aston Villa on the opening day.

We played against a world class team that can execute in any given moment,” Scott Parker said. “I said before the game we need to have 11 men with 10 out of 10 performances and to ride our luck, we’re going to have to take the very few chances we’re going to get along with every other team that comes here.

“You have to be clinical. We didn’t manage to do that and then the quality they have shone through. After the goals go in you could be on the end of one but I was pleased with the team in the way they stuck at it with good endeavour, good personality and good courage. We can be pleased with that.

“Our season is not this. Man City away is not a team that will define our season. This is a game we need to analyse of course and we’ll do that and see where we can improve and get better. We’ll dust ourselves down and go again.”

VAVEL Logo