Pep Guardiola praises ‘weird guy’ Erling Haaland but promises he will be no laughing matter when unleashed on Liverpool

ERLING HAALAND has already proven in his short time at Manchester City that he is a “funny guy”.

But the Norwegian’s arrival in the Premier League will be no laughing matter for defenders across the country – starting with Liverpool in the Community Shield final.

Erling Haaland is already proving to be one of the jokers in Manchester City's pack

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Erling Haaland is already proving to be one of the jokers in Manchester City’s packPhoto credit: Getty
He'll be ready to show his evil streak in front of goal against Liverpool

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He’ll be ready to show his evil streak in front of goal against LiverpoolPhoto credit: AFP

The £51.4m champions’ new signing has had his new team-mates laughing since he joined from Borussia Dortmund this month.

And Etihad boss Pep Guardiola is happy about how Haaland has settled in so well.

The Spaniard said: “First impressions of him are really good, fun guy.

“He has settled into the team very well. This is important. Apparently people think it’s not one of the most important things, but it is.

“The good mood in the dressing room is more important than any advice.

“We’re trying to help him settle in well with the family, the house and getting to know each other in training. Then the quality does the rest.”

Guardiola then announced that Haaland would be unleashed against the Reds in Saturday’s final.

On the Norwegian’s status, the City boss said: “He’s ready to play. He is feeling well.

“When I’ve spoken to him over the past few days, he feels a few small issues but he’s able to train and move around.

“By the end of August he will be better than he is now. Now we have one game a week, with more practice.

“[Haaland and Julian Alvarez] have the special feeling, the smell, the quality to score a goal.

“If we play good football, create a lot of chances, get the ball close to the penalty area…

“When we do that, we know that Erling and Julian have this incredible talent for scoring goals. But they won’t do it alone. We have to help them.”

Guardiola admits he hasn’t had a chance to have a beer with his new centre-forward.

But if he can help beat old rivals Liverpool at King Power Stadium today, he will surely be the dressing room toast.

Guardiola added: “I don’t see everything off the pitch. I don’t drink beer with them. But what I see off the square in the canteen and in the corridors is good.

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“We’ve been incredibly lucky to have the guys we’ve had in previous seasons, otherwise you don’t win titles, that’s for sure.

“The new guys have been very well received by the guys who are already here from day one, that’s why it’s so easy.

“Fernandinho left an incredible legacy on how to behave in the dressing room.”

Haaland’s new team-mate John Stones had the daunting task of tagging him when City faced Dortmund in the Champions League 16 months ago.

And he has no doubts about the problems he will cause for defenders in England and Europe in the years to come.

The Three Lions centre-back said: “I think he will score goals. He’s so present, such a big kid.

“Physically he’s very capable in all aspects and that’s so difficult because he’s got pace, he’s got power, his finishing with both feet, also his aerial threat.

“I played against him two seasons ago and he’s causing problems. He’s obviously still so young and still has so much to do.

“AN INCREDIBLE ADDITION”

“He’s thriving here and has the opportunity to train with us, learn with us and obviously bring his skills to our team.

“He’s an incredible asset to us as a team and I think he’s ready to be honest.”

Haaland is one of four new faces added to City’s squad ahead of the new season, alongside Kalvin Phillips, Julian Alvarez and goalkeeper Stefan Ortega.

Guardiola doesn’t think the new boys will take long to adjust and predicts a quick start to his career at City.

He added: “Hopefully it won’t take them a lot of time. The quicker they settle in, the better. In my opinion, they will not take time.

“Stefan surprises us a lot with what he can do and the other three guys how they settle down, listen, behave, in the few games they play, I think they’ll start quickly.

“Not only for Erling and Kalvin, for Steffen, for Julian, the Community Shield is a title that we obviously want to win, it’s better to start with winning than with losing. That’s good for the city.”

Meanwhile, Guardiola praised his bosses for the work they have done in a summer in which they have held the biggest sale in Premier League history.

Haaland scored in just 12 minutes on his debut against Bayern Munich

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Haaland scored just 12 minutes after his debut against Bayern MunichPhoto credit: Getty
Guardiola is excited to see what his new striker can do in England

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Guardiola is excited to see what his new striker can do in EnglandPhoto credit: Getty

City have taken £174million in the closed season, with Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling and Oleksandr Zinchenko being the biggest casualties.

That makes it a record sum raised for a top-flight club to beat the £166m Chelsea brought in five years earlier.

Guardiola said: “Congratulations on that. Sometimes I’m a bit sad that these important players have gone, but it’s a business, it’s good for the club.

“To invest you have to sell players, otherwise you can’t be sustainable. But the image of the club is always: we buy, buy, buy.

“It’s good for the club. It’s part of the business. Anyone can sell, not everyone can, it’s difficult to do. It’s good for us.”

Perhaps this could mean City can slightly increase their offer for a left-back, with Brighton’s Marc Cucurella their prime target.

“We’ll see,” smiled Guardiola.

There’s a lot to laugh about at City these days.

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5892487/pep-guardiola-funny-guy-erling-haaland-liverpool/ Pep Guardiola praises ‘weird guy’ Erling Haaland but promises he will be no laughing matter when unleashed on Liverpool

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