Erling Haaland admits it’s his “dream to win the Champions League” and has praised boss Pep Guardiola as almost telepathic in his reading of the game.
The Manchester City striker has made a blistering start to the Premier League campaign, scoring 11 goals in just seven games ahead of his first derby match against Manchester United on Sunday.
Despite their relative dominance in English football since the arrival of Guardiola, the Champions League has remained elusive for City. The club and their fans hope the acquisition of Haaland can finally land them the prestigious trophy, and the 22-year-old conceded there is pressure on him to deliver.
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"The pressure will always be there on footballers, no matter what, no matter where you play," he told Sky Sports’ Gary Neville.
"At [his former club Borussia] Dortmund, there is also pressure, there are 80,000 fans at every home game. As footballers, we have pressure on us every day, we have exams every single weekend and that's just how my life will be for the next 10 or 15 years.
"But the missing part of the puzzle, I cannot say too much about this. But my dream is to win the Champions League."
Guardiola has often been accused of tinkering too much in European games, but Haaland has been impressed by his manager’s tactical nous and foresight.
“I have this thought quite often," Haaland said. "For example, the day before a game he tells us what's going to happen and then the next day, exactly that happens.
“It's crazy, sometimes I don't understand how it's possible, but he's crazy into football - a football-holic, if you can call it that. It's crazy.
"I'm a striker so I want to be in the box as much as possible. I don't want to go out on the side - what should I do there? We have other players doing that, so this is a logical thing.
"But we talk about a lot of small, different details - against this team maybe do this, against this team do that, so there are a lot of details. He's a very detailed man who loves details. I like it a lot. The devil is in the detail and he loves it. It's good to work with him."
Haaland will be hoping to play his part as City seek to move to within a point of early league leaders Arsenal, and he admits just thinking of Sunday's derby is filling him with excitement.
"I landed in England [from international duty] and the first thing I was thinking of was Sunday," he said. "You can feel it here a little bit more here and there. It's going to be nice to have my first derby.”
Haaland’s father Alfie has plenty of experience in the Manchester derby having represented City for three seasons in the early 2000s. But Erling stresses that he hasn’t spoken with his dad too much ahead of the intriguing encounter.
“I haven't spoken a lot with my Dad. He will watch it from the stands. There are going to be a couple [of tickets for Sunday] but it's going to be a nice game. I'm looking forward to it.”
If City are to be successful against an improving United in Sunday’s blockbuster at the Etithad, they may need Kevin De Bruyne to be at his best.
Haaland is clearly enjoying his time on the pitch with the Belgian, who has already provided two assists for the Norway international.
"He's a really calm, good guy," the striker said of his team-mate.
"We relax a lot, we joke a lot together. You know how it is in the locker room with all the guys. It's really nice. We have a really calm relationship, joking a lot about the same things.
"On the pitch - when you watch a football game and you can see yourself in the game - that's what I've been having even before I came here. All the balls he would shoot in and there was nobody there, you know, it's a dream for a striker and you can see this season how it is.
"It's something you don't need to speak about because he knows I will be there and I know that he will shoot the ball in there in front of the goalkeeper and in behind the defence - the most difficult pass to defend against. This is just something you know."
Although Haaland has enjoyed an almost flawless start to the season, he still believes there is room for more.

Erling Haaland și Kevin de Bruyne

Image credit: Eurosport

Asked how he aims to improve his game, Haaland said: "I think to connect with the team when I have to. To play with the team when I have to and to join in when I have to.
"And of course, when I have to is when we are trying to score a goal or when we need to hold the ball. I feel as though I'm developing every single day on different kinds of things.
"When it comes to playing football, this and that, movements, off the ball, I feel like I'm developing every day and that's the most important thing for a young man and player, and this is something I like."
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