When they signed Erling Haaland from Dortmund for £51.2 million last summer, Manchester City knew they were getting a prolific goalscorer. They were short of a number nine who could be relied upon to consistently score across the campaign in all competitions, so it was great business for the club. Here is a look at how Pep Guardiola has helped Haaland take another step in his career, firmly establishing himself as the leading striker in Europe.
Haaland Has Fed Off Fantastic Assists
Although it is Haaland who has gained the most credit for Manchester City’s attack in the 2022/23 season, he will appreciate the support he has been given by his teammates. Collectively, they have created some excellent chances for the complete centre forward.
LIVING MY DREAM 🤩🏻 pic.twitter.com/uDQk7txbi0
— Erling Haaland (@ErlingHaaland) May 28, 2023
Kevin De Bruyne had more assists than any other player in the 2022/23 Premier League campaign. He finished with 16 assists, four more than the next-best in the standings, Mohamed Salah. Riyad Mahrez also reached double digits for the season with 10 assists, while Jack Grealish and Rodri recorded seven and six assists respectively.
Little Rest Across the Season
Guardiola has resisted the temptation of resting Haaland too much this season. Going into the FA Cup final against Manchester United, the Norway international had featured 51 times in all competitions. The World Cup back in November and December gave the Manchester City striker a break, as Norway did not qualify for the tournament. However, Guardiola has kept his leading goalscorer in his team, and that has ensured he has remained sharp heading into crucial games.
Haaland has been full of energy throughout the season, and at no stage during the campaign has he looked like he needed a break. Some managers would have rested him more against lesser opponents, but by playing in those games, not only has been able to smash the Premier League record, but Guardiola has also boosted the player’s confidence.
Manager’s Drive for Excellence
As any Manchester City player who has played for him since he arrived in England will vouch for, Guardiola is a manager who strives for excellence. No matter who they are in his squad, he pushes them to be at their best every day in training and against all opponents, regardless of their ranking in the table.
5️⃣🏆 in 6️⃣ years! 💙 pic.twitter.com/B00JgIVm01
— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 22, 2023
The challenge for Haaland now is to follow what he achieved last season. Manchester City are the 4/7 favourites with betting companies in Zambia for the 2023/24 Premier League title. To help his side defend their crown, Guardiola will be pushing his striker to better his tally again.
City may freshen up their squad with a few signings in the summer transfer window, but the vast majority of the Premier League-winning squad are likely to remain at the club. Haaland has created an excellent relationship with his teammates and that bodes well for future success. Haaland still has a chance of adding to his tally this season in the FA Cup final against Manchester United and the Champions League final against Inter Milan.