Pep Guardiola backs Erling Haaland to bounce back after failing to find the net in City’s 4-0 win

Erling Haaland missed the mark in City's 4-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday

Erling Haaland had just EIGHT touches in Man City’s 4-0 rout of Bournemouth as he endured a frustrating home debut… but Pep Guardiola defends his striker, claiming he had ‘the hardest job in the world against’ the Cherries.

  • Guardiola has defended Erling Haaland after this Saturday’s goalless draw
  • Goals from Gundogan, De Bruyne, Foden and a Lerma OG saw City win 4-0
  • Haaland was a peripheral figure in the comfortable win over Bournemouth

Pep Guardiola praised Erling Haaland’s performance in Manchester City’s 4-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday, despite the Norwegian having just eight touches in the game and failing to get on the scoresheet.

The Premier League champions made it two wins from two after last weekend’s opening day win at West Ham, with goals from Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Jefferson Lerma own goal.

However, Haaland touched the ball just eight times during the match against Bournemouth, just one more than Romelu Lukaku’s record-breaking seven touches in a Premier League game for Chelsea against Crystal Palace last season.

Erling Haaland missed the mark in City’s 4-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday

In fact, Haaland completed just two passes in the entire game – the lowest total for a City player under Guardiola.

The striker did not add to the two goals he scored last week in Sunday’s win at the London Stadium.

However, the City manager has jumped to the defense of his summer signing suggesting he did the best he could against the Cherries’ top line.

Haaland only touched the ball just eight times during the game against the Cherries' back line

Haaland only touched the ball just eight times during the game against the Cherries’ back line

Pep Guardiola has backed his star striker to take on Premier League defenses this season

Pep Guardiola has backed his star striker to take on Premier League defenses this season

“The most difficult job in the world is when you’re a striker against a (defense) with three centre-backs, three centre-backs and you’re in the middle,” Guardiola said after the win.

“We will encounter many of these situations, but it is a matter of time. With the quality of player we have behind (Haaland), we will find him.”

Haaland may not have added to his two goals against the Hammers, but he set up City’s first for Gundogan. He showed some frustration with Phil Foden during the game when the Englishman opted to go for goal rather than play his team-mate.

Phil Foden was one of the players on target as City made it two wins from two this season

Phil Foden was one of the players on target as City made it two wins from two this season

It is not the first time that Haaland has faced questions about his possible role in the City team. Doubts arose over City’s No.9 following their display in the Community Shield as Guardiola’s men were beaten 3-1 by Liverpool.

But the £51m signing quickly bounced back with a brace on his Premier League debut and his manager believes he will live up to his billing.

Next up for City is a trip to St James’ Park to face Newcastle next weekend as the champions look to continue their perfect start to the season.

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