Pep Guardiola warns Erling Haaland against being ‘contaminated’ by Leeds United

    Manchester City v Fulham FC - Premier League
    Pep Guardiola hopes it will be the normal ruthless Erling Haaland at Leeds (Picture: Getty Images)

    Pep Guardiola does not want Erling Haaland to be ‘contaminated with nice words’ as he returns to the place of his birth to take on Leeds United on Wednesday night.

    The Manchester City superstar was born in Leeds when his father played for the club and has always had a connection with the West Yorkshire side as a result.

    There is an even stronger connection as Leeds boss Jesse Marsch used to be Erling’s manager at RB Salzburg and they remain close as a result.

    ‘The time I had with Erling in Austria was outstanding,’ said the American. ‘We had an incredible relationship and, when I got the job here, he and his father were incredibly supportive and excited for me.

    ‘Erling was born in Leeds and his father has history in this city. Due to that, Erling has this club in his heart but I fear it will motivate him a little bit more against us.’

    Guardiola will be hoping Marsch is right and Haaland will be looking to shine against Leeds, but has warned the striker not to be ‘contaminated’ by praise from his opponents.

    ‘They want to win. We want to win. They will push his team. It will not be a friendly game,’ said Guardiola. ‘Hopefully Erling cannot be contaminated with the nice words from the opponent!

    ‘I am pretty sure Jesse would prefer to play with the good players on the pitch.’

    Manchester City v Liverpool - Carabao Cup Fourth Round
    Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne are proving to be a deadly combination (Picture: Getty Images)

    Haaland was back on the score sheet as City returned from the World Cup break with a 3-2 win over Liverpool in the Carabao Cup, but Guardiola said he is still recovering from the foot injury he suffered in the Champions League group stage.

    The City boss says the Norwegian is fine to play, but has been playing through pain due to the nature of the problem.

    ‘I think he will be ready. Day by day he’s getting better. As much, he can train, he will get his condition,’ said Guardiola. ‘The injury is completely different to last season.

    ‘It was a knock in his feet in Dortmund when we played Champions League. The doctor says his damage his ligament in his feet is so painful, it’s not easy to recover. That’s why he struggled.

    ‘But muscular issues and everything is perfect and now he is much, much, much better. Now it’s a question of time. Of course, we need him. And yes, he was good (against Liverpool). On Thursday he finished good.’

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