Jamie Carragher has said that Erling Haaland ‘may have picked the wrong club’ in a debate about the forward’s impact on the Manchester City side.
Debate raged after City’s 1-0 loss at Tottenham regarding the Norwegian’s effect on the team, with Carragher arguing that they have become a ‘lesser team’ this season following the arrival of a recognised number nine in the shape of Haaland.
Carragher made the point that while Haaland himself has scored 25 goals, City have scored the same number this season – and conceded more. After 21 games last season, City had scored 53 and conceded 13, this year they have scored the same number but conceded 21.
‘I’ve felt this season when he’s scored his goals, I think we’ve only seen 60 per cent of Haaland. You think of that goal he scored on the first game of the season against West Ham, the space in behind, he makes that run,’ he said on Sky Sports.
‘I know that’s not there that often with the way City play. He’s come from a league and Borussia Dortmund where it’s a counter-attacking league and it’s end to end and you see that blistering pace. You don’t see it. He may have actually picked the wrong club to actually get the best out of him.
‘We’re not seeing everything of Haaland and Manchester City now, not because of Haaland, you can say they’re a different team, but they’ve scored the exact same amount of goals. He’s scored 25 Premier League goals. Man City as a team have still scored the same amount of goals, but they’ve conceded more and it’s far easier to counter-attack them as well.
‘They’re a different team and a lesser team with Haaland in the team, but again it’s not his fault. City as a team will not play end to end football, it’s not Guardiola’s way. His players don’t have the energy or the power or the pace to play end to end.
‘Haaland will still score 25 league goals and a lot of those are coming across and he’s putting it in. But we’re not seeing the full package of what this player can do because of the team that he’s gone to.’
However, defending the striker, Graeme Souness urged Guardiola to find a solution to City’s current problem of being unable to control games in the same way and appeared to lay the blame the door of Haaland’s team-mates for the team’s struggles.
Pushing back on some of Carragher’s claims, Souness said that the balls needed to be quicker and more incisive into the Norwegian to get the best out of him.
‘Haaland is a top, top striker if you look at his movement in the box. I’m surprised they don’t do it because the wide players they’ve got are more than capable of knowing where he is, knowing the areas to hit,’ he said.
‘He’s got 25 goals already, if I was Man City I’d be saying to the manager, let’s utilise him, let’s use him to the best of his ability. Right now they’re not, they’re not getting the ball in early enough,’ he said.
‘Ask any striker, ask any of the strikers that have played today, they want it quick and early. You hear stories about strikers complaining all the time. Haaland is the best in the world of his type of centre forward but they’re not utilising it.
‘I played in a team where we were accused of trying to score the perfect goal, if you watch Man City play that is maybe the accusation you can say, they’re trying to score the perfect goal all the time. When you’ve got someone with assets that Haaland has, use them.’
City’s defeat means they failed to capitalise on Arsenal’s loss at Everton on Saturday, with Guardiola’s side presented with a glorious chance to close the gap on the leaders to just two points.