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Monday, January 30, 2023

Pep Guardiola urges Erling Haaland to ‘play with passion’ at Chelsea despite recent flashes of temper

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Pep Guardiola has told Erling Haaland to carry on playing with passion and to go to the limit after Manchester City’s top scorer showed flashes of temper in last week’s 1-1 draw with Everton.

The Norwegian was booked for a late lunge on Vitalii Mykolenko and fought a running battle with Ben Godfrey after being aggrieved when he was fouled by the Everton centre-back in the opening seconds.

But Guardiola said he would rather see Haaland animated than emotionless and predicted he will face another physical contest against Chelsea on Thursday.

“I like it, the extra limit,” he said. “Not just him, everyone. His behaviour, you always have to use [your head]. But play with this passion. That is necessary. I prefer that than to be flat. Strikers have to handle tough, tough central defenders. It’s necessary. Tomorrow he’ll have a battle with [Kalidou] Koulibaly and Thiago Silva. Always it’s a big challenge and that’s why the Premier League is so special.”

Haaland has scored 21 goals in his brief City career but seemed at risk of a first red card when he was wound up by Everton and Guardiola feels there is a balance to be struck in terms of retaining enough composure to still play his part on the pitch.

He added: “A lot of things can improve. As much as he scores goals, it’s OK but he still has a margin to improve many things. Of course, he’s young and he will be better in the future.”

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