Pep defends Haaland after shock debut

English Premier League

Pep Guardiola has leaped to the defence of striker Erling Haaland, who had a debut to forget against Liverpool in the Community Shield.

The Norwegian got his first competitive start for the Citizens at the King Power Stadium against a Premier League rival on Saturday evening.

However, the former Borussia Dortmund striker passed up a few good chances, most notably a glaring miss from six-yards out in the closing stages of the game.

Guardiola, however, was pleased with the 22-year-old's performance on the day as the Citizens lost 3-1 in the end.

Read: Liverpool clinch Charity Shield title

"Very good. He had chances, today he couldn’t convert, but he is an exceptional player," Guardiola told ITV. 

"It is good for him to see the reality in a new country and a new league but he was there. He didn’t score. He has incredible quality and he will do it.

"He had chances, two or three in the first half and one at the end. He fought a lot and made the movements.

"When Erling Haaland scored in the States, everyone talked about how impressive he was. He was there and had the chances – nothing changes. He’s strong. Another time he will put it in the net. It’s football."

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