‘Haaland doesn’t care about touching the ball’

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WHAT HAPPENED? While Sergio Aguero starred as a striking focal point during his record-breaking spell with the Blues, Pep Guardiola has been happy to do without an out-and-out goalscorer for much of his reign at the Etihad Stadium. That approach changed when snapping up prolific Norwegian frontman Haaland, with the 22-year-old – who has found the target on 27 occasions this season – allowing a false nine experiment to be shelved as he focuses solely on putting the ball in the back of the net.

WHAT THEY SAID: Portuguese midfielder Silva has said of Haaland’s mindset and how that stands to further benefit City as an attacking force: “The thing about Erling is that he doesn’t care about touching the ball. He is one of those players that for example if you play me as a false nine or Phil Foden, after a game playing in that position it is not easy because you don’t touch the ball many times and you get frustrated because you need to touch the ball to feel a part of the game. The good thing about Erling is that he is there and if he doesn’t touch the ball for 30 minutes, but he touches it once and he scores, he is happy and delighted. To have that kind of player who is so focused on just the end of the product is great because he knows what he is there for and he does it perfectly.

“Just the hunger that he has to score more and more and more. You saw that he scored two [against Leeds] and he wasn’t happy because he could have scored more in that game. It is just crazy because any other player if they scored two goals would be over the moon, but he was happy and not totally happy because he felt he could have scored more which shows how ambitious he is, how focused he is to help the team and to be better every day. I am very happy we have a player like that.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Haaland has been a revelation for City since completing a £51 million ($61m) transfer from Borussia Dortmund, with records continuing to tumble around him, but his efforts have not been enough to fire the Blues to the top of the Premier League table as they sit seven points adrift of leaders Arsenal after 16 games.

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WHAT NEXT? City, who have Haaland topping the Premier League goal charts with 21 efforts to his name, will be back in action on Thursday when taking in a trip to Chelsea.

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