Kevin De Bruyne backs Erling Haaland & names one thing that surprised him about Man City striker

The Manchester City midfielder dismissed any suggestion that his team-mate struggled in the win over Bournemouth.

Kevin De Bruyne has said Erling Haaland doesn’t ‘need a lot of touches to be dangerous’ following Manchester City’s 4-0 win over Bournemouth on Saturday.

The summer signing struggled to get on the ball on his Etihad debut and had just eight touches during his 74-minute appearance.

Haaland also failed to find the back of the net, with Ilkay Gundogan, De Bruyne and Phil Foden scoring in the first half while City grabbed a fourth in the latter stages as Jefferson Lerma netted an own-goal.

But De Bruyne insisted he has no concerns about Haaland’s performance and said he was a threat in the game despite not seeing much of the ball.

“He was fine [after the game], obviously it’s hard being that focal point in the system,” said the Belgian. “We have 11 people [in the opposition] behind the ball pretty much all the time, so in these however many touches he was dangerous.

“You don’t need a lot of touches to be dangerous. He helps the team in many aspects and he didn’t complain, he was still helping and giving assists so it’s fine.

Advertisement

“I think he did well today,” De Bruyne continued. “If he doesn’t score they will say it but he set up the first goal, he had a couple of chances and he was there. He helped us make these chances, he did what he had to do and on another day he will score. It’s all good for me.”

Haaland was a largely peripheral figure in the in over Bournemouth. Credit: Getty.

As De Bruyne referenced, it was Haaland who created the game’s first goal when he held off the challenge of two Bournemouth defenders before slipping the ball into the onrushing Gundogan.

Asked about the goal, De Bruyne said: “I think the way they set up, with Gundo being in the No.10 position, he is the free man because they have a line of four where it’s very condensed.

“But because of Erling being the focal point, the defender cannot jump to him, like the other two can do me with me and Joao [Cancelo], so that set up the first goal very good but it’s very tight and we did what we had to do.

De Bruyne was selected as our Man of the Match on Saturday. Credit: Getty.

Advertisement

“It’s always good to have a focal point, someone who is going to be there,” De Bruyne continued. “Even today, some of the crosses we put in he was almost there.

“It’s very difficult anyway when teams play that way and we know that. It’s maybe something he isn’t used to from Germany, I don’t know.”

City’s No.17 was also asked if anything has surprised him about Haaland since his arrival at the Etihad. “He’s really, really quick. I didn’t know he was that fast, but for the rest he’s solid in a lot of points,” he responded.