Pep Guardiola discussed the imminent arrival of Anderlecht left-back Sergio Gomez ahead of the Etihad opener against Bournemouth, as well as touching on Erling Haaland with his upcoming home debut. The boss also talked the opposition, squad fitness, and full-backs in general.
Firstly, Sergio Gomez:
"You know the club is always working on many possibilities in many positions. This one target is a young player, in the U17 World Cup, a few years ago the best player was [Phil] Foden and he was the second best player. He played in Spain U21, young talent at Barca, went to Dortmund, played in good hands under [Vincent] Kompany [at Anderlecht]."
"He played well, we target him to bring him here."
"He's for now [rather than the future], he will stay with us, the squad, alongside Joao [Cancelo], Josh [Wilson-Esbrand] and him for the left-backs, he'll stay with us [this season]."
Does signing Sergio Gomez rule out signing another left-back?
"No [we are not discounting signing another left-back]."
How does Erling Haaland feel after his first and second game?
"I don’t know. I don’t sleep with him..."
More seriously on Erling Braut Haaland:
"An exceptional player but we're together [only for] one month. Not necessary to tell you [his qualities], we all know it. He's an incredible competitor, wants to win."
"His sense of goal. What impresses me most is he has a good education, he's humble, how much he talks with young players, not just important players, always talks. [He] settles good like Julian [Alvarez] and the other guys."
"He has qualities to score goals but in the process I don't like the striker to be waiting for the ball. I want him to be involved, I think he likes to touch the ball. Not [just] Erling [Haaland], all of them, they all have to run and have the freedom to respect positions. If he wants to drop he can do it. Good linking, extra passes, close to the box I don't want him dropping, I want him scoring like Julian [Alvarez]. All players like to be in touch[ing distance] with the ball."
"Erling [Haaland] like Julian [Alvarez] or [Phil] Foden or Cole Palmer have a lot of margin to improve. I wouldn't like to make them done [already]. He can be a better player, he can have the will do do it. He likes football, I never see a player with 21, 22 years, maybe [Lionel] Messi he was already advanced, the rest is never finished and always you can improve. We will try this season, next season for him to be a better player than when he arrived. Like Phil [Foden], an exceptional player but margin to be better. Incredible instinct he has but has to ready the situations better. We're here as staff and coaches to help them."
Premier League is thirty years old:
"We were able to create this rivalry [with Liverpool], the last years the biggest opponent we face in the titles is Liverpool, it's an honour. Before it didn't happen until Sheikh Mansour took over and make an investment to make a good environment to compete with the elite of English football. Sport is like this, individual and collective, you need someone to get you better."
"We have Kalvin [Phillips] with some niggles, Cole Palmer had a knock in his feet so is a doubt. The rest fine..."
"[We are] ready, I saw their [Bournemouth] game. I have a lot of respect for Scott Parker, the patterns are so clear. We spoke and trained and we're ready. It's so tricky [to face promoted teams early], the first games are so difficult, they don't feel pressure because they are in incredible mood. They don't have anything to lose, after the good karma being promoted, makes it complicated. After a few months all the teams have injuries, good moments bad moments, the mood in the locker room, these things happen. In the first games everyone push to do better. Always tricky."
More on Bournemouth:
"They make high press, squeeze really well, drop into five at the back, so narrow in the middle. Five at the back, close in the build up to drag you out, link with the strikers. After they have good runners on the opposite side. They have good set pieces. We try to impose our game and avoid them."
"It's not the first time, many years, last season with a proper striker or false nine. Many games we play this season or don't play. Depends on the shape of the opponent or how the opponent defend. Whether they are four or five at the back, flat, how the wingers behave. This affects your attack. You have to adapt. Since Bayern, always I use it."
Tactics and/or freedom:
"It's a good debate but tactics is to help them express the talents. I use the tactics to create some patterns, everyone can be more comfortable, more time in the expressions with their talents. Defensively to take the ball as far as possible from goal, if I can create more chances for the strikers to score, this is tactics. I don't say do whatever you want because that's chaos. Tactics isn't against the creativity for the players. It's easier for them because we are seven seasons together, it's not difficult..."
Written by: @coIgcra
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