EPL

Haaland makes 'best team in world' Man City even better, says Leeds boss Marsch

By Sports Desk May 10, 2022

Erling Haaland is "destined to be one of the best players in the world" ahead of an anticipated move to Manchester City, says Leeds United manager Jesse Marsch.

A move to the Premier League champions for the Borussia Dortmund striker at the end of the season will reportedly be confirmed this week, ending a prolonged saga of speculation over his future.

Marsch has first-hand experience of working with Haaland, having previously coached the Norway international – who was coincidentally born in Leeds – during their time together at Salzburg.

Speaking ahead of the Whites' clash with Chelsea on Wednesday, the American coach predicted bigger things are to come from Haaland and joked that he should have gone to Elland Road instead.

"Erling Haaland is destined to be one of the best players in the world," Marsch told his pre-match media conference. "It's his quality, but it is also his talent.

"I wish he was coming back home to Leeds... but I understand the decision for him to go to Man City.

"It will be interesting. He's an explosive player in transition and Man City often play a lot in possession. He can play any style of play.

"Certainly, I believe it makes Man City – one of, if not the best team in the world – even better. So credit to them for getting that done.

"I always wish the best for Erling, he's an incredible human being."

Marsch also commented on the tough run his own side now faces to survive in the Premier League, with Leeds' destiny effectively out of their own hands.

Everton are a point ahead with a game in hand while Burnley are level on points, albeit with a vastly superior goal difference, and need only to match the results of their rivals to survive.

"We knew coming into these three matches with City, Arsenal and Chelsea that it was going to be very, very difficult to pick up points," Marsch added.

"So it's proved to be that, just like we knew it was, and we still have so much to play for. So our focus is really on controlling every moment and being prepared for every moment.

"Credit to Burnley and Everton. In a difficult moment they've also fought for their lives and done whatever's possible to claw their way back into this situation, and we'll do the same."

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    Manchester United manager Erik Ten Hag insisted his defence was not to blame for their opening-day defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford.

    The Seagulls found themselves 2-0 up at half-time after Pascal Gross scored a first-half brace.

    Ten Hag had opted to leave Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench due to a lack of fitness, but brought him on in the second period to positive effect and an Alexis Mac Allister own goal set up a tense finish.

    Brighton held on though for their first ever away win at Old Trafford, condemning Ten Hag to defeat in his first competitive game in charge of the Red Devils.

    However, the former Ajax boss refused to blame his backline for the defeat, telling reporters: "It wasn't the defending. We defend as a team and we made passing mistakes that were unnecessary in the midfield, then they took over. 

    "We have to be better at organisation because we have made appointments and they have to do the job which we talked about, which they have been appointed to do. That is not what we did and then we got punished.

    "The same with the second goal, it was totally unnecessary from a ball that was loose in the corner on the other side. It is not good that you then go on and concede a goal."

    Ten Hag also spoke on the improvement in United's performance after Ronaldo entered the fray, while conceding that he still has a way to go until he is at his best.

    "It was clear to see that in the second half we were better in the midfield, with Christian Eriksen back down and Cristiano Ronaldo further up," Ten Hag added.

    "Then we create and [Marcus] Rashford had two really good chances and it's a pity we didn't score to make it 2-2.

    "It takes time. We cannot force it and one week in training, a little bit more now, he has to do more to get fit and this game will help him. The 35 to 40 minutes he had now and now we have one week and he will be better next week."

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    The Seagulls found themselves 2-0 up at half-time after Pascal Gross scored a first-half brace to put his team two goals to good at the interval.

    Ten Hag had opted to leave Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench due to a lack of fitness, but brought him on in the second period to positive effect and an Alexis Mac Allister own goal set up a tense finish.

    Brighton held on though for their first ever away win at Old Trafford, condemning Ten Hag to defeat in his first competitive game in charge of the Red Devils.

    However, the former Ajax man refused to blame his backline for the defeat, telling reporters: "It wasn't the defending. We defend as a team and we made passing mistakes that were unnecessary in the midfield, then they took over. 

    "We have to be better at organisation because we have made appointments and they have to do the job which we talked about, which they have been appointed to do. That is not what we did and then we got punished.

    "The same with the second goal, it was totally unnecessary from a ball that was loose in the corner on the other side. It is not good that you then go on and concede a goal."

    Ten Hag also spoke on the improvement in United's performance after Ronaldo entered the fray, while conceding that he still has a way to go until he is at his best.

    "It was clear to see that in the second half we were better in the midfield, with Christian Eriksen back down and Cristiano Ronaldo further up," Ten Hag added.

    "Then we create and [Marcus] Rashford had two really good chances and it's a pity we didn't score to make it 2-2.

    "It takes time. We cannot force it and one week in training, a little bit more now, he has to do more to get fit and this game will help him. The 35 to 40 minutes he had now and now we have one week and he will be better next week."

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    Erling Haaland scored twice on his Premier League debut as Manchester City beat West Ham 2-0 at London Stadium.

    A first-half penalty from Haaland was followed by a typically clinical finish when the big-money signing after the break, as the champions picked up three points from their opening game. 

    With Haaland seen as the striker Pep Guardiola has been lacking since Sergio Aguero's departure, it was fitting that the new arrival became only the second City player to score a brace on his Premier League bow, with the former Argentina international being the other in August 2011.

    Hammers boss David Moyes was forced to start full-back Ben Johnson at centre-back alongside Kurt Zouma, with Angelo Ogbonna, Issa Diop and new signing Nayef Aguerd all out injured.

    It took a while for City to get going, and they thought they had taken the lead when a neat move down the left led to Haaland playing in Ilkay Gundogan, who squared for Kevin De Bruyne to sweep home, only for the offside flag to go up.

    Moyes's injury problems mounted further as Lukasz Fabianski had to go off after taking a knock in a challenge for the ball with Haaland, Alphonse Areola replacing him.

    One of Areola's first contributions was to bring down Haaland when he was through on goal to concede a 36th-minute penalty, which the Norway striker dispatched calmly, sending Areola the wrong way.

    Declan Rice skied a presentable chance over after a Gundogan error early in the second half, and some uncharacteristic misplaced City passes crept in as the Hammers looked for an equaliser, turning to their own new striker Gianluca Scamacca to come on just before the hour.

    Haaland struck again after 65 minutes, though, when a City counter-attack saw De Bruyne slide his new team-mate in and the former Borussia Dortmund man placed his shot coolly past Areola to seal the points.

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