Pep Guardiola appreciates having the “special quality” of Erling Haaland at his disposal, but is convinced that Manchester City will not win the Champions League by relying solely on the Norwegian.
Haaland has enjoyed a tremendous start to life at City, scoring 10 goals in his first six Premier League games to equal the division record for the fewest games needed to reach double figures.
Before the season began, some suggested that Haaland might need a little time to catch up, but his early form has scoffed at his critics.
However, many feel that making a difference in the Premier League is not why City signed Haaland, but rather that he was bought to be decisive when the margins are much smaller: in the Champions League.
Despite huge investment since its acquisition in 2008, the Champions League title has eluded City, who have reached the final just once.
The hope is that an already exceptional City finally have what they were missing in Haaland, but Guardiola acknowledges the need not to take him for granted.
“All the players try to make us better, otherwise there’s no point,” he told reporters ahead of Tuesday’s Group G opener against Sevilla.
“Does that help us win titles? I don’t know. If we all rely on Erling’s shoulders, we won’t win the Champions League. We try to create opportunities for him to score goals.”
“We convinced him to come here, we felt we didn’t have many strikers. He tries to get involved in the way we play. He fits in well as Julián. [Alvarez] and other players.
“I understand that everyone is talking about Erling, but I have three, four, five new players and it is important that they all settle down.
“We don’t win just because of Erling and we don’t lose just because of Erling. He has a special quality and could solve some problems, but if we don’t play well, we’re not going to win games.” “
However, few will regard City as anything more than heavy favorites on Tuesday.
They face a Sevilla side who have picked up just one point from their opening four LaLiga games and have the worst record for expected goals in open play of any team (6.3).
The departures of Jules Kounde and Diego Carlos have proven problematic, although Guardiola still regards their European pedigree as something to behold, acknowledging that City’s history on the continent is no match for six UEFA Cup/Europa League crowns. from Seville.
“It’s a tough competition and we’re proud to be here again,” he said. “Tomorrow on the pitch, against Borussia Dortmund and Copenhagen, it depends on our performance. If we are not good, we go home and take punishment from the fans and the media and then after a while we move on.”
“Last season we fought to be here, we know how difficult it will be. Spanish teams dominate Europe, I would love to have a history like the one Sevilla has, City is far from Sevilla in Europe.
“Tomorrow don’t miss the show in this stadium. We’ll just try to play a good game and try to get the three points”.