Erling Haaland scored his 28th league goal of the campaign, and 34th overall as Manchester City won 1-0 at Crystal Palace.
Pep Guardiola believes Erling Haaland’s secret weapon is that he “never gets sad” about missing chances.
The Norwegian striker scored his 28th Premier League goal of the season as his penalty gave Manchester City a 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Haaland missed a decent chance in the first half but struck with calm accuracy in the 78th minute at Selhurst Park.
“One of his biggest qualities that I have discovered and know him is to work together… he can miss one chance and he never gets depressed, he is not sad,” Guardiola said after the win.
“He always thinks positively, the next one, he knows he’s going to have a chance and he’s going to be there. That’s an incredible quality for a footballer.
“An athlete normally in football, basketball and tennis, if you think in action, in the past, that’s done, you can’t be a good athlete. This kid misses it and thinks, ‘Okay, I’ll get another one.’ and more’.”
Some have suggested that City’s occasional struggles this season, despite Haaland’s incredible goal-scoring return, are a result of the former Borussia Dortmund player not offering much in the squad, and Guardiola has acknowledged this as an area he wants his striker to improve.
“I wish that when I finish our time together, he can improve his game, connecting with the team, at the right pace, to realize how he can be involved in our game and not just put the ball in the net. Guardiola said.
“Putting the ball in the net will happen all the time in his life. He doesn’t score one or two goals and people say he’s not the same. He’s always there, the numbers speak for themselves. What he’s scored in this league especially we’re still in March.”
The City boss also labeled Haaland’s first-half error a “penalty”, despite the expected goal rate (xG) being just 0.2 compared to 0.8 per penalty, according to Opta.
“He has to score five goals in every game. If he doesn’t, it’s a lot of pressure,” Guardiola joked. “He has no pressure, he has had an incredible season so far.
“He missed a penalty in the first half because the chance he missed, the penalty is harder, but he’s always there. The way he celebrates his goals and his team-mates’ goals shows how happy he is here and how happy we are with him.” .
“He’s a young lad, to take the ball there in this pressure, it’s not soft, the determination to put it there and score was great.
“Obviously they feel the pressure, but it’s nice. If you don’t feel the pressure, you’ll be drinking in the bar. You’ve got to handle it, you’ve got to handle it.”