Pep Guardiola praises Julian Alvarez after positive start at Man City

‘I am surprised how good he is!’: Pep Guardiola hails ‘exceptional’ Julian Alvarez after Man City boss admits he had only seen ‘clips’ of him before… as he backs the Argentine to play crucial understudy role to Erling Haaland

  • Julian Alvarez arrived at Manchester City earlier this summer from River Plate
  • He has struggled for minutes on the pitch due to the presence of Erling Haaland
  • However, Pep Guardiola has been very impressed by Alvarez in training
  • He has said he is surprised Alvarez’s ability after not seeing much of him before 
  • Guardiola thinks Alvarez will shine when he gets chances to fill in for Haaland 

Pep Guardiola has backed Julian Alvarez to thrive up front when Erling Haaland is rested by Manchester City.

Alvarez’s £14million arrival from River Plate has flown under the radar somewhat given the impact Haaland has already had on the Premier League.

The Norway international’s the division’s top scorer with six goals in the opening four games but Guardiola believes his understudy can enjoy a similar influence.

Julian Alvarez has been used sparingly in the opening weeks of the season by Pep Guardiola

He has been largely overshadowed by fellow striker Erling Haaland in recent weeks

‘I knew him in a bit from the TV, the clips at River Plate – I am surprised how good he is,’ Guardiola said. ‘All of us are impressed how he is as a centre forward, the work ethic and many things.

‘Definitely when Erling doesn’t play, we will play Julian, I am pretty sure.’

Alvarez’s introduction from the bench gave City an extra edge at the weekend as they came back from two goals down to beat Crystal Palace.

The 22-year-old, who can also operate from wider areas, was integral as City launched another comeback at the Etihad Stadium. Alvarez’s defensive tenacity is also an attracting for City.

Guardiola has been impressed by Alvarez and has backed him to shine when he plays more

‘He is always positive and always in training sessions he gives everything,’ Guardiola added. ‘I like these kind of players. He was involved in two goals in the last game so he has quality to play. We are delighted. Julian is an exceptional player.’

Guardiola has also warned his team to tighten up defensively, however, after going two-nil down for the fourth time in their last six matches.

‘Always we score a lot of goals and concede few and now we are scoring a lot but conceding a lot and if we don’t stop that it will be difficult,’ he said. ‘We cannot always score four or five goals to win the games. It is the transitions and the set pieces and if we do not have more control we will suffer

‘We have to try to avoid it. In last years when we were down it was always difficult to come back. Now we prove we can do it but we have to avoid it where possible. It is a risk. One day will not be able to come back.’

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