Manchester City legend Yaya Touré shares his thoughts on who he thinks might triumph in the Premier League title race.
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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has shut down Thierry Henry’s claim that star striker Erling Haaland needs to adapt his game and become less predictable in order to benefit the team as the Norwegian has faced criticism in recent weeks. The Arsenal legend handed Haaland a piece of advice that Arsene Wenger once gave to him, which enabled the French forward to become one of the greatest strikers in the history of the Premier League.
Henry last week told CBS Sports: “We’ve seen in big games they can’t find him. If you think the other way, in big games, try to help them. We all know, when you play a big team… you have to win your own battle first. It’s not that easy, and we’ve seen that this year he’s struggled in this type of games. Maybe, if he does think of that, how can I help them, sometimes in some situations, not always them finding me on the second post.”
However, Guardiola rejected the idea that Haaland needed to change his approach. “I would say I understand what Titi [Henry] wants to say but being predictable doesn’t depend on Haaland it’s about the process [in getting the ball to Haaland]. Then people say we concede on the goal left side because Bernardo [Silva] is there but people don’t see we did what we did against Nottingham because Bernardo is there to help us.
“To be less predictable we need more runners when we arrive in the final third but to arrive in the final third we need the process. I’m not stupid to say Bernardo is a left-back but he can do it, one-on-one he is a good defender. We have done it in the past with [Oleksandr] Zinchenko, [Fabian] Delph. Come on, we have scored the most goals in the Premier League. We can do good things and with Erling as well.”
Henry further elaborated his Haaland view and explained Wenger’s previous advice. “There is one piece of advice that Arsene Wenger gave me when I playing for Arsenal and always stayed with me. What can you do when your team is not feeding you?” Henry added.
“We all know that when Kevin De Bruyne has the ball, Kevin can find him in any way, anyhow. We all know he likes to make that second-post move. So Arsene told me, ‘Ask yourself the right question.’ When I was a striker, I used to complain about everything, all right, always. He doesn’t give me the ball and the boss says, ‘Do you think Dennis Bergkamp can give you the ball the same way that Freddie Ljungberg does?’ So I started to think.
“OK, with Dennis I knew I could move out if I wanted to move. Then I started to think, Robert Pires likes a one-two … Freddie Ljungberg, I need to be in his path, the way he runs, because if not, he will not see me. I started to think, how can I enhance the skills of the player instead of showing his weaknesses.”
Despite Haaland being well on course to win the Premier League Golden Boot this season, his rate of scoring has slowed down recently as he has notched just once for Guardiola’s outfit in the past five games.
Despite scoring in the 3-1 win over Arsenal last week, the 22-year-old has been criticised for not adding enough to his side’s overall play and many have claimed that City were a better side last season as they won the title, despite the goals he has added to the team.
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