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Man City manager Pep Guardiola drops hint over Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez partnership

Pep Guardiola has left open the possibility of Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez starting together for Manchester City more often after being pleased with their early connection with each other.

The strike duo started together in the 6-0 rout of Nottingham Forest at the end of last month, featuring for 69 minutes on that occasion, and they were paired together off the bench against Borussia Dortmund and Wolves.

They had 31 minutes together against Dortmund and Alvarez came on for the final 19 minutes at Molineux and he almost created a goal for Haaland when the forwards exchanged passes with each other, only for the Norwegian to fail to take in the through ball.

Guardiola has been pleased with what he’s seen from the two of them and could look to utilise that partnership more often.

“It is the second time I see Julian and Erling together in the last minutes. I like it together. A little bit more aggressive,” he said.

“It depends on them, the performance, the connection with them, they look at each other, they connected really well, so Erling passed to Julian and Julian to Erling in the short passes in that moment, they are not selfish, they look for each other.”

Guardiola used all five subs against Wolves and was pleased to get minutes for other players as well, especially with the schedule coming up before and after the World Cup.

He also believes the implementation of the five substitutes rule in the Premier League is helping to keep those on the fringes happier and more involved.

“[On Saturday] Riyad played good minutes, I’m wanting him desperately to come back to what he is. And minutes for Cole and everyone, the impact for everyone was so important and the guys from the bench, the impact was good as well. This is what it is,” said Guardiola.

“With this crazy schedule, we need everyone, and now with five substitutions the impact from the bench and mentality is in the right position. Normally the people from the bench when they play bad it is because they are not here, they are complaining, but when they are there with a good impact they can help us because the quality is there. We need fresh players and this is a good sign.”

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