Pep Guardiola has said an inability to break through opposition defensive lines has led to Manchester City’s recent slump in form, rather than Erling Haaland’s lack of involvement.
The Premier League champions have lost their last two against Southampton and Manchester United, with Haaland registering just 19 touches in the latter. Guardiola did admit after the defeat at Old Trafford that he needs to get his no.9 on the ball more often, but ahead of Thursday’s clash with Tottenham Hotspur identified another problem with his team.
City have registered just one shot on target over the last two matches and Guardiola feels it’s a lack of creativity rather than clinical finishing which is costing his team at present. “It is the reason our fluidity has not been as good as usual,” the Catalan said before the Spurs encounter.
“Sometimes to make chances you need to make a good build-up, put the ball inside to open and spread the defensive lines and we struggled in the last two games.”
Asked If a lack of fluidity is linked with Haaland’s recent performances, Guardiola replied: We have played really good with him so it is not about that. To play better, to create more chances is to provide more balls for him or the other strikers. This is what we have to work with.”
The City manager also claimed there is no issue with the mentality of his players in the midst of their poor run of form. “No. When we play good it is because of tactical reasons and when we play [bad] is it because of tactics reasons,” he opined. “I have the duty to find that and this is what I have to do. The mentality of this group of players, not at all.”
A win for City on Thursday will reduce the gap to top spot to just five points, although the Blues will have played a game more than Arsenal after the visit of Tottenham. City could also begin the match in third place if United beat Crystal Palace on Wednesday night and move into second place.