Pep Guardiola said Erling Haaland will “not solve all our problems” and claimed he wants to make the 22-year-old a better player after the £51 million summer signing marked his Premier League debut with both goals in Manchester City’s 2-0 win at West Ham United.
Having failed to score in his first appearance in English football during last week’s 3-1 Community Shield defeat against Liverpool, Haaland showcased his goalscoring ability with a first-half penalty and second-half strike against David Moyes’ team.
But City manager Guardiola said he will not make his team over-reliant on the Norway international, despite his goalscoring pedigree.
“All the team were amazing, but for Erling to score the first two goals is good for him and for us,” Guardiola said. “He is a threat for us now, but he is not going to solve all our problems.
“He will add something to our team. But if we just rely on him, we will be making a mistake.
“One week ago [after the Community Shield], he could not adapt in the Premier League and now he is alongside Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer and Cristiano Ronaldo, so..
“I’m so happy for him. Two goals, the debate is over. He scored goals in Salzburg, Dortmund, so hope he can do it here.”
When Guardiola arrived at City in 2016, he urged striker Sergio Aguero to add more to his game and become a greater team player and he said that he also wants Haaland to evolve his game.
“He came for five years, hopefully he will stay for this time, even longer,” Guardiola said. “He can be good for us and the team, but we can push him more and add something more to his game and make him a better player, not just the guy who scores goals.
“I don’t know him much, so we need time, but I know how he handled criticism this week and he was really calm. I don’t know yet how he reacts to compliments, we will see. But I like how he took the penalty, his self-confidence. I think he will punch a teammate in the face if they try to take it off him and I like that.”
In a post-match interview, Haaland said it was “a bit s***'” that he was unable to score a hat trick on his debut before being substituted in the closing stages.
But Guardiola said that reaction was what he would expect from a top player.
“I was fortunate to be with [Lionel] Messi,” Guardiola said. “When he scores two, he wants three, when he scores three, he wants four. All the top players are the same.
“They are never satisfied, always hungry, starving for goals, and want more, but at same time, I have to use other players.”