Pep Guardiola has dismissed suggestions from Spanish media that Erling Haaland is unhappy at Manchester City.
There have been claims that the prolific Norwegian striker dislikes the city – and its weather – so much that he wants to leave the club.
Perhaps inevitably, the reports suggest Real Madrid are monitoring the situation but Guardiola is not taking the rumours seriously.
“You have to ask the media from Madrid if he is unhappy,” said the City manager. “Maybe they have more info than we have.
“We don’t have that feeling that he’s unhappy. He was because he could not play – he was two months out injured – but maybe the media from Spain, especially Madrid, have more information than us.”
Haaland returned to action after 10 games out with a foot injury in the champions’ 3-1 Premier League victory over Burnley on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old could start as City travel to Burnley on Monday looking to add to the 19 goals in all competitions he has already scored this season and the remarkable 52 he netted last term.
Guardiola said: “We cannot say he didn’t adapt quickly and he was not fine since he arrived – it’s just the level he’s shown since day one.
“We cannot control what people say but the important thing is he’s happy. When he’s unhappy, he will take his decision.”
Haaland did not get on the scoresheet after coming off the bench against the Clarets but, even in his brief appearance, Guardiola felt his influence on the team was clear.
He said: “He played 25 minutes and every transition, every pass, all the players look at him. I know how important he is for us.
PEP I analyse the squad and the skills they have and I try to make them comfortable. Erling [Haaland] played last season, Julian [Alvarez] is a striker with different skills and movements. Brentford are dangerous from throw-ins and corners. We have to adapt and we know they… pic.twitter.com/8o0JTyByn9
— Manchester City (@ManCity) February 2, 2024
“We try for all the strikers to be happy, especially him, and it will depend how we play. If we play quite comfortable and good, he will get a lot of balls.
“This is what we want and after that he will do the rest.”
Haaland’s return to action coincided with Kevin De Bruyne’s first start since August and John Stones’ comeback from an ankle injury.
Asked if Haaland was now ready to start, Guardiola said at a press conference: “Yes, he’s ready.
“Everyone is ready right now because they are not injured as much. If they are on the bench, they are ready.”