Pep Guardiola says the traditional warm welcome afforded by City’s players to all new signings helped ensure Erling Haaland hit the ground running and so ignited his incredible first 18 months with the Club.

The Norwegian striker enjoyed a stunning debut season at the Club, scoring 52 goals all told and being a key component in City’s historic Treble campaign.

Haaland started this season in similar prolific vein before being sidelined for two months with a foot problem.

But now fit again, he marked his return with a brace at home to Everton last Saturday and tops the Premier League scoring charts with 16 goals.

And quizzed at his pre-match press conference ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League last 16 first leg tie at FA Copenhagen about the factors behind Haaland’ s remarkable first year and a half at City, the boss was unequivocal in his response.

“Of course, he came here after we had won two Premier Leagues [in a row) but he adapted really well coming here,” Guardiola pointed out.

“I [also] think we have incredible group of players here, great characters who embrace the new ones who are coming.

“Like this season, Mateo Kovacic, Jeremy, Mathues, Josko… they need two days, no in fact one day and they are part of the group.

“That’s comes because we have an incredible captain and staff.

“Erling felt that straight away. Immediately he arrived he was part of this [group].

“And after that it is play, don’t worry we have time. You didn’t come for a few days it’s for three, four years because of the contract he signed.

“We said you have time. 

“We don’t put pressure on him and say you have to score goals for us.

“No. We said get involved with what we do and the rest will come naturally.

“He is so strong mentally after one goal, he wants a second one and then a third.

“You see his numbers at his age - in the Champions League even Messi does not have these numbers art his age.

“It’s unbelievable. 

“He has scored goals everywhere all the time. He has a special mentality and attributes and skills.

“We are delighted to have him. And we are delighted he is back after two months out. 

“It’s a long time, like Kevin [De Bruyne] who was out for five months.

“Now they are back, and we are really, really pleased.”

Tuesday’s game marks Copenhagen’s return to action this year after a lengthy winter break.

In sharp contrast City go into the game flying on the back of a 10 match winning run across all competitions.

The boss however believes this stage of the Champions League always spells danger.

“My experience tells me this [that the last 16 first leg is always tricky],” Guardiola added.

“The exception was Sporting two years ago when we won 5-0 - but we scored five goals from six chances.

“But always I have huge respect for their first leg in the last 16 - always.”

Copenhagen v City app coverage

Our official app allows you to follow all of the action from Denmark in one place.

Minute-by-minute text updates will begin in our Matchday Centre two hours before kick-off, whilst our Matchday Live show will begin at 18:45 (UK).


We will have special guests on the latest Matchday Live show, offering their expert insight at half-time and in greater detail after the final whistle.

They will also answer viewer questions throughout the broadcast, with audience participation actively encouraged on Matchday Live. To get in touch, send a WhatsApp to: +447537186538.

During the game you can listen to live audio commentary from Alistair Mann while our text commentary continues.

Make sure to have push notifications turned on as well, so you can be alerted to key moments in the action, including goals, red cards and the team news.

Highlights from the match, as well as a full-match replay [available on CITY+] will also be available.