Erling Haaland: ‘I like the challenge’ of tough UEFA Champions League fixtures

Speaking ahead of Manchester City’s UEFA Champions League fixture against FC Copenhagen, Erling Haaland revealed that is confident ahead of a crunch second-leg tie – but does not dismiss the challenges that the Danish side could bring. 

While Wednesday’s outing remains the current focus for the club, Haaland did not dismiss a relatively important game that takes place against top of the table Liverpool this weekend at Anfield.

‘I haven’t thought about that game until you just asked me, I focus on Copenhagen right now,’ he told reporters on Tuesday.

‘But yeah, it is a massive game, and it’s one of the biggest games in England, so we have to be ready for the game and we have to be brave, play at our best because they’ve been really good this season,’ the striker added.

‘I think we are doing pretty good as a team, and that is my main focus.’

Haaland also took time to acknowledge what Copenhagen can bring to the table, despite the Cityzens heading into the second leg with a comfortable aggregate lead of 3-1.

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‘It’s a nice challenge, and they’ve done well this season. Look what they’ve done in the group stage. They’ve had some amazing games, and we’ve been analysing them, they have made it really difficulty for the games they have faced so far,’ he admitted.

‘I like the challenge, I like the Champions League, and I like to meet different teams and go to different countries.’

With his strong mentality being known by football fans across the continent, the youngster was adamant that his rise to the top was never as easy as it seemed – and came as the result of a lot of hard work. 

‘It’s been a challenge for me. When I was young, I would start crying if we lost or if I missed a lot of chances. So, I’ve been working on it a lot, but it’s been difficult,’ Haaland explained. 

‘There’s a lot of things [I] can become better at, everything by the way. People say I am good at scoring goals, but I missed the biggest chance in the world two days ago [in the Manchester Derby], so I can become better at that too.’

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‘I think because I demand a lot from myself, and I know my teammates demand a lot from me, and the manager as well as the fans.’

‘It’s an easy answer but also complicated, but so far so good.’

Despite this being his second year at Manchester City and having already achieved as much as any 23-year-old football star could imagine at his age, the Norwegian discussed how his motivation keeps him going through to the next season. 

‘You can think about it in two ways – one way, I came here and won it all. The second being I’m 23 years old and I won everything, I got a taste of it how it is to win everything.’

‘How I work is that when I feel this, I want to win again – it’s as easy as that.’

Manchester City host FC Copenhagen at 20:00 GMT on Wednesday, 6 March. The Cityzens look to progress to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League and are clear favourites to do so given their aggregate advantage.