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Guardiola says Haaland in ‘much better’ shape than last season

  Pep Guardiola fired a warning to Manchester City’s rivals after the club’s first match of a pre-season tour of Japan on Sunday, declaring star…

 

Pep Guardiola fired a warning to Manchester City’s rivals after the club’s first match of a pre-season tour of Japan on Sunday, declaring star striker Erling Haaland was in “much better” shape than last season.

Haaland claimed a brace after coming on at halftime to help City roar back from two goals down and beat J-League champions Yokohama F-Marinos 5-3 in Tokyo.

The Norwegian struck 52 times in his debut season at City, including a single-season Premier League record of 36 goals.

“Comparing last season in that period he’s fitter, much better than last season when he arrived,” Guardiola told reporters after the Tokyo match.

“Of course (he) looks good but (he) is still a way from the best condition, like everyone.”

As impressive as Haaland was in driving City towards their historic treble of Premier League, FA Cup, and Champions League, however, the goals dried up for him at the end of the campaign.

The striker, who turned 23 on Friday, failed to find the net for City in his last five appearances – the longest scoreless streak since he joined the club.

With that in mind, Guardiola noted that it was “important for him to score the two goals in the first game” in Japan.

“We know him. In a few weeks he will be in even better condition than now,” said Guardiola.

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