PEP GUARDIOLA believes Erling Haaland could be even deadlier in the second half of the season — as long as the Norwegian stays off the carbs in Marbs.
Etihad boss Guardiola said: “He will be in Marbella, for sure, and Norway. How perfect he’ll be in the second half of the season depends on how he behaves in Marbella.”
And Guardiola is hoping he can become even more prolific against some tired opponents after the tournament in Qatar.
Guardiola added: “I’m sure he’d love to be at the World Cup with Norway and hopefully he will be at the next tournament.
“But he has a house in Marbella and he will go there. He will play golf, hopefully not eat and drink too much and come back in great shape for the second half of the league.
“It’s the first time in our lives it’ll happen [a mid-season World Cup] so we don’t know how the players will come back.
“If you have six players who are world champions they will be really positive. Others may be depressed. Or the guys knocked out might have more holidays.
“With this incredible schedule, you’ve seen how many players will miss the World Cup because of this insane calendar.
“We’ll see how they feel, we’ll smell it, when they come back. We’ll adapt to our routine to play again.”
Guardiola has been surprised by Haaland’s “fox in the box” attributes, especially his ability to move in tight spaces.
He said: “I knew he was a guy for big transitions and over 30 or 40 metres he was unstoppable but I didn’t know how good he moves in small spaces.
“He has scored a lot of goals because he moves really well.
“He is so intuitive and makes movements I like a lot — he goes away from the action to be close to the ball afterwards.
“This type of movement is not easy for a striker. He’s so smart in the right moments.
“Apart from that, his work ethic — he’s one of the first to arrive and is one of the last to leave.
“He takes care of his body perfectly.
“He’s also well educated in the way he has to live as a professional.
“Last season here in Dortmund he had a lot of problems, he could not play regularly. This season, thanks to our physios, he’s being treated really well and he can play every three or four days.”