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Pep Guardiola praised the role Man City’s physiotherapists played in Erling Haaland’s blistering start

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Pep Guardiola praises the role Manchester City’s physiotherapists have played in Erling Haaland’s blistering start to the season, with the attacker doing ‘intense work’ with the club’s sports therapist to put old injuries behind him and race to 15 goals

  • Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes Erling Haaland is over his injury problems
  • Guardiola says City’s medical department has worked wonders with the striker, 22
  • The striker has worked closely with City’s sports therapist Mario Papundi
  • City realizes that he played an average of 20 league matches per season at Dortmund

Pep Guardiola warned Manchester City rivals that Erling Haaland has overcome persistent fitness problems after the club’s medical department worked wonders for him.

Haaland played just 20 league games a season on average before coming over from Borussia Dortmund for £51 million and the physical nature of the Premier League was a major reason the striker has been debating a move to Real Madrid.

But after intensive work with City’s sports therapist Mario Pafundi, the Norwegian international has started every game for club and country this season, scoring 15 goals in 11 games.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola believes Erling Haaland is over his injury problems

Haaland had surgery over the summer, he didn’t train for the first week of prep, and Pafundi has been working closely with him ever since – even accompanying the 22-year-old while he was away from Norway.

“Erling struggled a lot with injuries in Dortmund last year and came here with minor problems after surgery,” said Guardiola.

“He started working with Mario and other guys. Thanks to them – and his work ethic – he can now play regularly. That was not possible last season.

Guardiola (right) says City's medical department has done wonders with the striker (left)

Guardiola (right) says City’s medical department has done wonders with the striker (left)

“I’ve always told the club that the most important department in the back rooms is the physio. They take care of the legs.

“Thanks to Erling and the boys’ treatment. The clubs earn a lot of money if the players can play and that is usually thanks to the physio.’

The Premier League champions could be eight points clear of Manchester United with the win in Sunday’s derby and Haaland has leaned on his father, Alfie, for advice on the encounter.

City have been keeping a close eye on the 22-year-old's condition since Borussia Dortmund's arrival

City have been keeping a close eye on the 22-year-old’s condition since Borussia Dortmund’s arrival

Roy Keane effectively ended Haaland Snr’s career in a derby 21 years ago, with the City midfielder sustaining permanent damage to his right knee.

“I’ll probably talk to my dad about it, yes, but I know what it’s like and I’m ready,” Haaland said. ‘I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be a great experience.

“I expect United will work hard, they will come to destroy us, but we have to believe in ourselves and take advantage of being home. We have to attack the game.’

City realizes that Haaland played on average only 20 league matches per season at Dortmund

City realizes that Haaland played on average only 20 league matches per season at Dortmund

Guardiola wants supporters to play their part in the Etihad Stadium too. “It’s important that we feel pressure from them,” he added. ‘We need them. I want them to be active. It’s not just any football game.

‘We can’t be lazy. You have to express emotions and feelings. We must demand the best of ourselves. Otherwise it is difficult to win against these kinds of opponents.’

Meanwhile, the hamstring injury John Stones sustained with England is not a long-term problem. But Kalvin Phillips could miss close to the World Cup after shoulder surgery.

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