Erling Haaland Abu Dhabi-1670521441782
Erling Haaland trains with Manchester City team during the winter break in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Manchester City’s star striker Erling Haaland says team is focused on the next game and are looking to hit the ground running when the second of the English Premier League resumes with the Boxing Day fixtures on December 26.

Manager Pep Guardiola and his team will then head back to Manchester to meet up with those taking part in the FIFA World Cup after completing their warm weather training camp in Abu Dhabi.

“Our focus is always on the next game. I know it’s cliche, but if you get ahead of yourself then you lose focus. The challenge now is for us to get back up to speed and playing how we know we can. This training camp will be important for a number of us to do that and the rest of the guys will join us when their World Cup ends. The focus will be on getting fit, getting ready and then heading into the Carabao Cup game against Liverpool looking to get a positive result and giving our fans something to be excited about as we head into the second half of the season,” Haaland said while taking time out during the camp.

Strong performances

Playing in his first season for City, the Norwegian caught the eye with 23 goals in 18 games so far after signing in the summer. Reflecting on the season, Haaland said: “It’s been positive. I feel like I’ve settled into the team and the league, which can always take some adapting to, and I’ve been pleased with how it’s started. But it’s not about me. It’s about the team, how we’re performing and the second half of the season is the most important now. We’ve put ourselves in a good position and we’ve had lot of strong performances, but we’re second in the league and that’s not where we want to finish. We have to hit the ground running when we return because we have some tough games across the different competitions and we want to win them all.”

The break in the region has given the 22-year-old the time to reset while also feeling bad that he was not able to be in Qatar with his country.

Best possible place

“Of course, every player wants to be at the World Cup. It’s my dream to represent my country there and I’ll work hard to make sure that I do that one day. But the break has been positive. I’ve had the chance to rest, to take my mind off football for a few weeks and put myself in the best possible place to return. I can’t wait for it to start again. I’m raring to go.”

He added: “The World Cup is great to watch for any football fan. Of course, I would prefer to be there playing, but it’s the best teams and the best players competing against each other. There have been some fantastic performances and some that maybe people wouldn’t have expected. Now we’re into the most exciting part of the tournament when one little mistake and you could be out which makes it even more enjoyable to watch.”

Haaland heaped praise on Abu Dhabi, joining the many top sportspersons who have been stunned by the beauty and the top-class facilities in UAE.

“We’re lucky as professionals to go to many beautiful places and travel around the world. To come here before the start of the new season is a great opportunity just to recharge and focus our minds again on club football returning. We have all the facilities we need, the weather is a little warmer than it is in Manchester this time of year and we can prepare as a group.”