“We understand that sometimes people have doubts,” said the midfielder. “But we know the player he is and where he comes from. He needs three touches to score a goal, he’s an incredible player.
“It’s difficult in that position because we’re used to playing with a false nine that moves a lot and now we have him as a reference that doesn’t move too much. He has to adapt.
“Of course his natural talent makes all the difference, but he needs to try harder to be involved in the game – when to come, when to drop, when to go to space. It’s normal, we’ve only been together for a month …”
Anyway, Telegraph Sport can reveal that rival managers have already called each other to talk about how dangerous Haaland is, fearful of the damage he could do, startled by his physical and technical prowess, hoping to pick each other’s brains out to fight. trying to work out how to contain the new weapon that Guardiola has at his disposal. Based on the current evidence, you can try, but you won’t succeed.
City was the best team in the country last season without a real striker; now they may have the best in Europe to lead their line. He made it 3-1 behind to earn a point at Newcastle the weekend before and won the game against Palace. The Viking has landed.
“He couldn’t score a hat-trick against West Ham, because I substituted and knocked him out,” added Guardiola. “We are here to win the games, not to score two or three goals. The numbers are nice, but he is here to help us win. The rest is not important.
“Last season we couldn’t beat Palace, but we won the title. This season we beat Palace, will we win the title? We are here to win titles and if you have a player like him, he will help you because he has special qualities.”
Indeed he does, but Haaland wears them well. His goal celebrations were exuberant, driving off, waving arms as the Etihad roared and cheered his new hero, but his one wave to his adoring fans after the final whistle was a friendly acknowledgment rather than basking in the glorious demeanor. No wonder Guardiola loves him.