Why Pep Guardiola is encouraging Erling Haaland aggression

Jamie Spencer
Erling Haaland has been booked three times in his last four Premier League appearances
Erling Haaland has been booked three times in his last four Premier League appearances / Visionhaus/GettyImages
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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has insisted he will encourage Erling Haaland to continue playing with aggression because it is ‘necessary’ in the Premier League.

Haaland was on the receiving end of some rough punishment from Everton defender Ben Godfrey during City’s last game. His frustration later got the better of him when he was shown a yellow card for only the third time this season.

It is worth noting, however, that all three have come in his last four Premier League appearances.

“I like it, the extra limit,” Pep Guardiola said ahead of City’s clash with Chelsea this week.

“Not just him, everyone. His behaviour – you always have to use [the 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.

“He’ll have a battle with [Kalidou] Koulibaly and Thiago Silva. It’s always a big challenge and that’s why the Premier League is so special.”

Haaland has scored 21 goals in 15 Premier League games this season, setting a new league record as the fastest player to reach 20 goals (14 games) when he recently found the net against Leeds.

The Norwegian has taken to English football like a whirlwind, but he cannot afford to rest on any laurels because defenders will sooner or later work out ways to stop him unless he continues to actively adapt and improve himself to get even better.

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