Band James Ducker
Ilkay Gundogan believes Erling Haaland poses such a threat that Manchester City will have to get used to more teams than ever parking the bus against them as opponents try to smother the prolific Norwegian striker.
Haaland will face former club Borussia Dortmund tonight for the first time since leaving the Bundesliga for the Premier League this summer.
City kicked off their latest bid for European glory last week with a resounding 4-0 win over Sevilla in Spain, with Haaland scoring twice and taking his tally to 12 in just seven competitive games this season.
The Premier League champions are no strangers to opposing sides using low blocs against them, but Gundogan has warned that this could become the norm both domestically and in Europe as teams try to limit the space behind Haaland to match. to fall.
“Maybe the games in Dortmund were a bit more open than we’re used to here,” said the City captain, one of four former Dortmund players in the club’s ranks, along with Haaland and defenders Manuel Akanji and Sergio Gomez. “That’s not always the case here and every team is strong defensively.
“Maybe That’s Something” [Haaland] will have to adapt and he’s already shown he can – Nottingham Forest sat deep and he scored a hat-trick [in a 6-0 win].
“We know we have someone who can make those kind of runs [in behind defences] but teams are going to play deeper and deeper against us, maybe in the Champions League too, so it could be even harder for us to play those balls in the back.
“It’s about being patient and choosing the right time to penalize teams. It’s important that he keeps making these runs. In 10 percent of the cases, he can make the runs and free up space for others, so it’s important that he will create opportunities for him and others.
“He’s going to show us a lot more. I think the club has attracted an incredible player and person.”
City hope Haaland’s arrival will boost their chances of winning the Champions League for the first time, with Gundogan admitting there was something “a bit tragic” about the way they played in Real Madrid’s semi-finals last season. Chelsea lost in the final. final the year before.
“I think the most important thing is the margin of error, the small details that decide matches, especially when it comes to the quarters, semi-finals and of course the final,” he said. “The margins are so tight that mistakes are really not allowed. In recent years the way we were eliminated may have been a bit tragic, but I don’t think we should regret anything. It’s always an experience.”
“We’re trying to get back there and get better and that’s all we can do. We have to try to reach the maximum and see what happens.”
Gundogan inherited Fernandinho’s captaincy after the Brazilian’s departure this summer and said he had been in touch with his former team-mate to “ask him for advice and a few things”.
The German, 31, who has no contract at the end of the season, also insisted he was relaxed about his future. “I’m very happy, I’ve been with the club the whole time, but it’s clearly football and in a way a business too,” he said. “We’ll see what happens at the end of the season, but I’m just trying to contribute to the team as best I can.”
John Stones is available again after injury, but fellow defender Kyle Walker remains sidelined as the game is expected to come too soon for Aymeric Laporte, who entered training for the first time on Tuesday while recovering from knee surgery.