'I don't judge Haaland on scoring goals': Pep Guardiola after Man City's UCL win over Young Boys (WATCH)
Pep Guardiola defends Erling Haaland from excessive scoring pressure, as the Norwegian double secures Manchester City's victory over Young Boys in the Champions League 2023-24.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola emphasised that sensational striker Erling Haaland should not feel pressured to score more goals after the Norwegian's double secured a 3-1 victory for the defending champions against Young Boys in their Champions League 2023-24 Group G encounter at Bern's Wankdorf Stadium on Wednesday night.
Haaland netted twice in the second half, contributing to Manchester City's hard-fought win over the Swiss side, although the game had been in the balance after Meschack Elia canceled out Manuel Akanji's opener with a superb strike.
Haaland's brace marked his first goals in six Champions League games, breaking a three-game scoreless run that was considered relatively barren for a player who had netted an impressive 52 goals in the previous season.
Guardiola addressed the expectations surrounding Haaland, stating, "There is the impression after last season that he has to score seven goals every single game. That is impossible. But he is scoring a lot of goals, and if people want him to fail because he doesn't score 50 goals, it doesn't matter. He is always there."
The Manchester City manager praised Haaland's performance, especially the quality of his second goal, and stressed the importance of creating scoring opportunities. "The second goal was really good and he had other chances. The important thing is to create them. Maybe in the right moment of the season he will be there, better than now, but he has already scored a lot of goals and we are really pleased. I’ve told him many times I don’t judge him for scoring goals, although I know he wants to score goals. He has the desire to improve and I don’t have doubts about that," Guardiola added.
City's victory marked their third consecutive win, bringing them closer to the Champions League 2023-24 knockout stages. Another win against Young Boys at the Etihad Stadium in two weeks could secure their place in the last-16 for the 11th consecutive season.
Guardiola lauded his team's overall performance, despite having 26 attempts on goal, highlighting the importance of creating goal-scoring chances. "The result was good and in general it was a really good performance," said Guardiola, whose side had 26 attempts on goal. "We could have scored more goals but is the important thing is to create the chances."
Regarding player concerns, Guardiola mentioned that Phil Foden was absent due to a "small problem," and Julian Alvarez, who had a goal disallowed after coming off the bench, was unable to complete the full game.
Young Boys' coach, Raphael Wicky, acknowledged his team's courage and passion but also the challenges of facing a strong opponent like Manchester City. "That courage and passion, we can be proud of what the team delivered, but you need a perfect game against a team like this. We couldn’t do it," he said.
"Perfect means taking your chances and not conceding from set-pieces. We’re disappointed with the result, but we can be proud of the team’s performance," Wicky added.