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  • Colin Cranmer

"One month ago Haaland was a disaster, now..." - Pep Guardiola pre Aston Villa Press Conference

Pep Guardiola spoke to the media ahead of Manchester City's trip to Villa Park in the Premier League on Saturday on a range of topics, including Erling Haaland (of course), new boy Manuel Akanji, updates on the returning players, and the players that have left the club this summer.


Squad update:

"Nathan [Ake] and Jack [Grealish] trained yesterday. Kalvin [Phillips] not yet. We'll see in the next session today."
"I would say one month ago we said September or October [Aymeric Laporte will be back]. Early October. He'll be ready after the international break. We won't force it. Knee is a tough injury. I cannot forget being in those positions, West Ham away and Villa [last season] we had no alternatives. Ruben [Dias] and Nathan [Ake] were injured. Another reason we go for [Manuel] Akanji so we will be fine. It was a bone problem but I'm not a doctor..."

Jack Grealish training on Thursday
Photo courtesy of Manchester City

Manuel Akanji was signed late on:

"We had incredible four centre-backs - at the same time, Aymer[ic Laporte] had a tough injury, he's getting better but still one month or a half [out], Nathan [Ake] had some concerns with muscle problems..."
"We couldn't live with just two centre-backs with this schedule. We had an opportunity to bring a player with one year left on his contract, incredible experience in Germany and with his national team, Switzerland. Perfect for what we need, incredibly fast, good in the build-up. We felt it versus Dortmund. Pleased he's here."

Managing Erling Haaland:

"I admire the people who can anticipate what happens in the future (sarcastic), I cannot do it. One month ago he was a disaster, now he's going to break [records] everything. I can't see what happens, I don't know what happens tomorrow. Imagine what happens in two years..."
"We are delighted for how he settles. Not just Erling [Haaland] - the staff and backroom staff is so important how they help to adapt the new players and the mates are really good. This is the most important thing."
"He's twenty-two - recovers well, when he's thirty-two more difficult. twenty-two not a problem..."

Does Pep Guardiola's future coincide with Erling Haaland's future?

"I work for [Mancheser] City, not for Erling [Haaland]. He doesn't work for me, he works for [Manchester] City..."

More on Erling Haaland:

"We are really pleased about him, a lovely guy. You see his passion, in the same way with Stefan [Ortega], Julian [Alvarez], Kalvin [Phillips], now Manuel [Akanji], this is what I'm looking for. To be comfortable here, what happens in the future I don't know..."

" I have the feeling he can get better. Understand what we want. A question of time, take time for the process. For example [Kevin] De Bruyne, or [Riyad] Mahrez or Bernardo [Silva] to learn the tempos. Important is comfortable, of course his goals help. Continue to do better."
"Tomorrow [against Aston Villa] is another example, another challenge. Keep going, the bad moments will happen; he doesn't score and we lose. Relax, analyse why and next one. It won't change the world if he doesn't score or [we don't] win. All the games we score lots of goals, except Newcastle we were so stable. This is what we have to do."

Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland together:

"I think the striker has the detail that doesn't compete with others but with themselves to score. The good strikers in my career compete for how many goals they score. We are more than delighted the club can bought these two fantastic players."
"Julian [Alvarez] scored one with his right and one with his left, both finishes amazing. The work ethic really good. In many games they [will] play together..."

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Aston Villa are the opponents:

"It's more dangerous [playing them in bad form], I'd prefer them to be in a better position in the table. Always difficult, tomorrow will be more difficult. The quality is there, the manager [Steven Gerrard] but the players they add[ed] [Leander] Dendoncker and [Jan] Bednarek... I can imagine how tough they'd be..."

Four Manchester City players have left for Southampton:

"All of them are fantastic players. Southampton bought really good players. We know the academy are so proud. The incredible job, they can do it. We rely on them a lot but at the same time they have offers and patience doesn't exist. They could stay one to two years. EDS competition is so light, it's not real competition. They want Premier League, so after agreement with the clubs., we have buy-back in case they explode and we can get them back."
"A big compliment for the club to educate them and bring them to the Premier League. Southampton is an incredible place, the guy [Joe Shields] there was working here, he knows them really well. We wish them all the best."


Written by: @coIgcra

Some quotes as quoted by Manchester Evening News and Manchester City.

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