Pep Guardiola urges Man Utd fans to join Man City title party

Yet, despite an astonishing goal-scoring record throughout his career, Haaland, 21, will not be under any pressure to make an instant impression with City in August, with Guardiola instead happy to wait for him to adapt to his new surroundings.

“I’m pretty sure, but to give you a real opinion I have to work with him,” he said. 

“When he scores this amount of goals it’s because he’s good. Especially important is that he is arriving in a new country, new house, have your friends – all these kinds of things he has to adjust.

“That’s why when he starts here he should have a good holiday, prepare well, come back here no injuries and start to work. 

“Start to play; if it takes weeks, great. If it takes months, great. He hasn’t come here for two, three months, he’s come for many years, I hope. 

“So if he needs more time, give him more time. We try to help him and I’m pretty sure he’ll try to help us so I don’t have any doubts about that.”

Haaland would not be the first high-profile Guardiola signing to take time to adapt to his gruelling management style.

Jack Grealish, signed for £100 million from Sunday’s opponents Villa last summer, is the latest in a long list of players to find the transition challenging, with his three goals and 26 appearances on course to be his lowest league production since he was a 20-year-old in 2015-16. 

Admittedly, Haaland’s astonishing goal-scoring record – 86 goals in 89 games for Borussia Dortmund and 15 in 17 appearances for the Norwegian national team – certainly suggests he is guaranteed success with a City team that has scored 96 goals so far this league campaign, despite not playing with a ‘traditional’ No 9.

‘Our way to play is so simple’

And those figures help explain why Guardiola pays no heed to critics who question whether Haaland, very much an orthodox forward, can thrive in City’s system.

“I hear he’s not going to adapt to the way we play and I would like to ask: ‘What is the way we play?’” said the City manger.

“And I’m pretty sure they who ask this don’t know it. I’m pretty sure he will adapt well – like Julian is coming and we’re going to help him to adapt well. Always that happens. 

“Players, when they are good – and normally they are in these type of clubs – they have good energy to see positives, understand we want to help them… our way to play is so simple, really.”

In the more immediate future, Guardiola is aiming for a fourth league title in five seasons with City on Sunday afternoon.

Personally, the Catalan is also one game from a 10th league title in his 13 years of senior management with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and City – an astonishing record but one which Guardiola claims will not dull his, nor his team’s, desire and ambition next season.

“I would say if we had this energy this season and the previous seasons why should we not have this energy next season?” said Guardiola.

“At the start of next season it will be forgotten, what we have done, we will have new players, and I think the competition itself makes this energy. 

“If you tell me now it starts tomorrow next season I’d say: ‘Oh no please, give me a break.’ But the moment we start the pre-season, new players and the first opponent and the second one and these kind of things, the energy is back.

“So I’m pretty sure it will be there again for us to try and be a good opponent for our opponent.”

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