Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has praised the manner in which his star-studded squad have embraced the arrival of Erling Haaland without getting jealous over the Norwegian’s media attention.
Haaland has scored 19 times in 11 competitive games for the English champions in a stunning start to his career at City.
Under Guardiola, City have won the Premier League four times in the last five years among nine major trophies.
“Every press conference – 50 questions, 45 on Erling. For me it is ok and the guys here accept it perfectly,” said Guardiola on Friday.
“I’ve had the type of guys who wouldn’t like it. Four Premier Leagues, fighting for everything, just talking about Erling? In other clubs, other people wouldn’t like it.
“Here, they are delighted. We don’t have incredible players who’d say: ‘All the time they just talk about him’. This is why it is a joy to train these type of players.”
Haaland has scored in nine consecutive City games and was robbed of the chance to score a fourth hat-trick in five home matches when Guardiola withdrew him at half-time of Wednesday’s 5-0 win over FC Copenhagen after he struck twice in the first half.
And Guardiola hailed Haaland’s poacher’s instinct to seemingly always be in the right place when the ball breaks his way inside the box.
“He has an incredible instinct. What can I teach him? He has an incredible sense as a striker of where the ball is going to finish and he goes one second before the ball arrives,” added Guardiola.
“He has this talent, this quality. All the time – a cross, a deflection – he is there. This type of player – how can a manager teach him? It is impossible. It is instinct, completely natural.
“He did it in Norway, in Austria, in Germany and he does it here. He smells it.
“Thank you so much to him for choosing us, and to all the people involved bringing him here. We are fortunate to have this talent with us.”
Haaland’s second half rest in midweek means he is set to start as he aims to continue his scoring streak against Southampton on Saturday.
Kyle Walker will not be involved after undergoing groin surgery, but Guardiola could provide no further information on whether the defender will be back in time to feature for England at the World Cup next month.
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