"Erling Haaland As Good As Players Around Him": Ex Man City Player Mark Seagreaves
Manchester City would to have Erling Haaland in top form as they host Real Madrid in the second leg of the UEFA Champions League clash on Wednesday.
Already past the 50-goal mark for Manchester City this season, Erling Haaland was kept quiet by Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League first leg last week. Fair to say that Carlo Ancelloti's plan largely worked and it was only a screamer from Kevin de Bryne that helped Pep Guardiola's men secure a 1-1 draw. As the two teams gear up for the second leg on Wednesday, there's a sense of wondering over the tactics and gameplay Guardiola would prepare his team for. While Haaland has been absolutely prolific at home this season, former Man City player Mark Seagreaves feels the striker is only as good as the players around him.
In a chat with NDTV, Seagreaves gave his insights from the first match between Real Madrid and Man City. Coming into the second leg, the footballer-turned-pundit feels Haaland would be more active in front of the goal in the second leg than he was in the first leg.
During the chat, Seagreaves was also asked about Eduardo Camavinga who has made the left-back position his own at Real Madrid with superlative performances.
Question:Real Madrid largely succeeded in their plan to silence Erling Haaland in the first leg. What do you think Pep Guardiola can do differently to unleash Haaland in the second leg?
Mark Seagreaves: I think they will play the same way, the same system. Hope, maybe one of the center-halfs doesn't have as good a game as they had in the first leg. If he gets an opportunity, a second in front of these defenders to score. It's not just all about Haaland. He is just a cog in the wheel at Man City. There are loads of other fantastic players. De Bruyne, Mahrez, Grealish, Silva. They've got quality. Haaland is only as good as the players around him. They are the players who give him opportunities to score goals. Haaland did get shackled in the first leg but if an opportunity comes his way, he will either make the keeper save it or put it in the back of the net. This is what this game's gonna be about. Not just goalscorers but also defensive players. Both teams are very good defensively as well. It's a huge game. It will be interesting to see what sort of tactics Ancelloti does use against Man City in Manchester. I think it will be the same. A bit of brilliance will open the deadlock and make the game more exciting than it was previously.
Question:Camavinga was exceptional as a left-back, a position he has not been playing for long. With Jude Bellingham possibly coming in next season, do you see Camavinga becoming a regular at that spot?
Mark Seagreaves: Well yeah, if he keeps playing the way he is playing. I mean, he was outstanding alongside Vinicius Jr. He is going to become a big player for Real Madrid because he is very good in central midfield but also has his strings of ball play on the left-hand side. Ancelloti has done this to a couple of players. The likes of Valverde will be in central midfield or wide right midfield. He has put him in the top three on the right-hand side as well, like a right-winger. He has given these players the opportunity to showcase a different part of their abilities. As I said, if you talk about Camavinga, they've got Tchoumeni in there, if they bring in Bellingham, that's the end of (Toni) Kroos and (Luka) Modric. They will be getting faced out. Then you've got Valverde, who is 25, Rodrigo is young, Vinicius Jr. is young. They only really have to replace Benzema in the next couple of years. And so, Real Madrid look really really good at the moment. The quality of young players they have right now is gonna be a little bit scary if you wanna play football in the future because if they grow together and become what they should, then it will be an exceptional team.
Watch the LIVE coverage of UEFA Champions League 2022/23: Semi Final (leg 2) - Inter vs Milan & Man City vs Real Madrid on Sony Sports Ten 2 & Sony Sports Ten 3 (Hindi) channels at 12:30 am IST on 17th & 18th May 2023 respectively