Guardiola says Haaland made for Palace game, but bemoans ‘soft’ Man City despite win

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Erling Haaland Pep Guardiola Man City August 2022 Credit: PA Images
Erling Haaland Pep Guardiola Man City August 2022 Credit: PA Images

Pep Guardiola admitted his Man City side “were soft in some departments” after their come-from-behind win over Crystal Palace at The Etihad.

Erling Haaland bagged his first Premier League hat-trick as City came from 2-0 down to beat Crystal Palace 4-2.  A John Stones own goal and a Joachim Andersen header had Palace dreaming of a repeat of last season’s 2-0 win.

Palace were good value for their half-time lead after a clinical first-half showing. But after Bernardo Silva pulled one back eight minutes into the second half, the compactness Palace had showed disappeared.

Haaland then took over as his first home goals for City came in a hurry – three in the space of 20 minutes to make it six in his first four Premier League matches.

Guardiola to BBC MOTD: “The last two games have had a lot of goals and a lot of goals conceded. It was a good game. We have always struggled against them but we came back.

“In the previous seasons we didn’t have it but now we are starting to do it. It is a good lesson for us what happened in the first half but now it is a good game.

“We have to improve. We are soft in some departments. There are parts we need to be in the competition more. The Premier League doesn’t wait. When you are waiting a while it is difficult.

“It was not a frustration for the goals to happen in set-pieces, it is that we didn’t do what we planned.”

Asked whether Haaland was bought for these games, Guardiola said: “Definitely for this type of game. We have not done anything special for him that he didn’t do before.

Haaland: ‘These games are why I’m here’

“It is important for him to get goals. He has the sense to score goals. The third one, to have the quality to be strong then put the ball in the net. The space depends on the movement of the opponents. You have to be patient and have more runners. It gives him more space.

“Bernardo Silva I never doubt. He is a huge competitor and has an incredible mentality. You have to be a winning player.”

Haaland, who leads the Premier League scoring charts with six goals, said: “It was an amazing feeling to score a hat-trick – a proud moment for me and my family. Yes, I am happy.

“We had to listen to the manager and do adjustments. We did that and got the result. It is a mentality to trust each other and keep going.

“These games are why I’m here – to turn things around when there is a difficult time.

“In the end, we scored four goals, that is a really good thing. But when we play at home we shouldn’t concede early goals. It’s about working harder.”

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