Pep Guardiola has warned Manchester City’s rivals that strikers Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland can and will play together – it’s not just one or the other that opponents have to worry about.
Haaland once again started on the bench as City defeated Chelsea 2-0 in the Carabao Cup third round, meaning that Julian Alvarez started up-front as City’s lone striker for the fourth successive game in all competitions.
The 22-year-old Argentine scored City’s second goal of the night – a tap-in after he instinctively followed up the rebound from a saved Riyad Mahrez strike – and put in an all-round impressive performance. Alvarez’s goals tally now stands at seven in 19 appearances, not bad at all given he has to live largely in Haaland’s shadow.
While Alvarez and Haaland have played together on a handful of occasions this season, it is clear that the latter is City’s first-choice striker. However, when asked after the game what Alvarez’s role in the squad is when Haaland is fit, Guardiola warned that opponents should beware a two-pronged attack.
“They can play together,” Guardiola told Sky Sports. “Against teams that defend so deep, they can share. The good players, they can always play together, and in this squad we have many.”
His goal aside, Alvarez was excellent throughout the match. Guardiola explained that Haaland was not fully fit and so sat out the contest, but that even when the Norwegian striker is available Alvarez is working day-in day-out to help the team and improve.
“Julian is an exceptional player since day one. He sets up pretty good, he scores lots of goal, he’s fighting… of course he has to fight against one of the best strikers in the world in Erling. But Erling had problems with his feet, he wasn’t fully fit. We rely on him and Julian 100% and he’s showing the many things he can do.”