(Reuters) – Manchester City striker Erling Haaland will need more time to begin firing on all cylinders, despite scoring on his pre-season debut in a 1-0 win over Bayern Munich, manager Pep Guardiola said on Saturday.
Haaland, who joined the Premier League champions on a five-year contract last month, got on the end of a Jack Grealish cross and fired home from close range after just 12 minutes to secure victory over the Bundesliga side at Lambeau Field in Wisconsin.
Guardiola praised the 22-year-old’s poacher instinct but said the Norwegian needed to be handled carefully to aid his return to full fitness.
“He scored a goal, which is important. These type of goals in front of keeper – always he’s there,” Guardiola said. “The first minutes, he needs more rhythm and time but already he had 45 minutes which is good for him.
“We’ll see how he reacts to the niggles that he had in the previous weeks. After we come back we have long weeks to prepare every weekend game. In those two or three weeks we will get the best form.”
City, who face FA Cup holders Liverpool in the Community Shield on Saturday, begin their Premier League title defence with a trip to West Ham United on Aug. 7.
(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by William Mallard)