Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has stressed that star summer signing Erling Haaland still needs ‘more time’ to settle and reach full fitness, despite scoring his first goal for the club.
City announced a £51m deal for Haaland as early as 10 May, officially joining on 1 July. But he was not involved in the first pre-season game of the summer against Club America and was limited to 45 minutes against old foes Bayern Munich on Saturday night.
Haaland, who scored 86 goals in 89 games for Borussia Dortmund over the course of two and a half years, netted a classic poacher’s tap-in inside the six-yard box only 12 minutes into the game.
However, the Norwegian has battled fitness trouble over the last year, having to sit out two chunks of last season with Dortmund because of injury problems, and Guardiola has suggested it could be another two or three weeks before fans see him at his best.
“He scored a goal, it’s important, these type of balls in front of the keeper always he’s there,” Guardiola reflected when speaking after the match in Green Bay.
“The first minutes, he needs more rhythm more time. Already had 40 minutes, that’s good for him. We see how he reacts to the niggles he had in previous weeks.
“When we’re back, we have long weeks to prepare for weekend games and this period. [In] two or three weeks we will get the best from him.
“He’s been training really well, looks like a really nice guy, down to Earth.”
City have played both of their two planned pre-season friendlies and will start the 2022/23 season for real as soon as next weekend when they meet Liverpool in the Community Shield.
Their Premier League title defence will then begin away at West Ham on 7 August, although they will take a mini-break from competitive action to face Barcelona in a charity friendly on 24 August.
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