Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City boss, has confirmed that Norwegian striker Erling Haaland will be available for the Premier League clash against Southampton on Saturday.
The prolific striker, who has 42 goals this season, including 28 in the Premier League, missed the last game against Liverpool and Norway’s two European Championship qualifiers during the international break. Haaland will be joining the squad for the 5:30 pm (UK) kick-off at St Mary’s, as City aims to extend their Premier League winning streak to five games and close the gap on Arsenal, who plays on Sunday.
In his pre-match conference, Guardiola confirmed that Haaland trained well in the last two days and will be ready for the game against Southampton. Although Phil Foden missed the win over Liverpool due to acute appendicitis surgery, Guardiola did not report any other injuries ahead of the game.
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Guardiola stated that the focus is on Southampton with the big games against Bayern Munich and Arsenal coming up. City is heading to St Mary’s eight points behind Arsenal but has a game in hand, and the two sides are yet to meet at the Etihad Stadium on April 19. City has two other Premier League matches against Leicester City at home and Southampton, with the Champions League quarter-final first leg against Bayern Munich sandwiched between the two.
Guardiola has hailed the impact of Southampton’s former City youngster, Romeo Lavia, ahead of the game against Southampton. The Belgian midfielder was one of the key components in City’s PL2 title-winning side last season before moving to Southampton. Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Guardiola praised Lavia, who has caught the eye in his role as Southampton’s holding midfielder and also won his first senior cap for Belgium last month.
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The trip to St Mary’s Stadium will once again see City play before the league leaders Arsenal, which Guardiola views as an advantage as the title race enters the final furlong. However, Guardiola is not underestimating Southampton, who have been tough to beat for City during his time. “Every team is playing for something, it’s the same importance to fight for the Premier League as it is to stay in the Premier League,” he said. “That’s why every game has its characteristics, and you have to be ready, because Southampton has always been so tough.”
Watch the full press conference via the video below.