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Erling Haaland receives ‘special’ advice from Kevin De Bruyne after home debut for Man City

Kevin De Bruyne tells Erling Haaland what he must improve after home Man City debut.

Erling Haaland received advice from Kevin De Bruyne on how to sharpen his skills after Manchester City won their first league match at home this year.

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At the Etihad Stadium, City easily defeated Bournemouth 4-0, with De Bruyne playing a significant part in the outcome. After 30 minutes, the Belgian scored a brilliant solo goal to give City a 2-0 lead. Five minutes later, he changed roles by setting up Phil Foden with a daring pass through the legs of the defender.

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Haaland also had a significant impact, particularly in the first half when he set up Ilkay Gundogan to score City’s opening goal and made room for Kevin De Bruyne to score. But tragically, his wish to score on his home debut did not come true.

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When Haaland was replaced in the second half, only seconds after missing a clear opportunity to score, he appeared a little angry. Although De Bruyne thought his young teammate played well, he offered one suggestion on how to modify his style of play for the Premier League.

De Bruyne described Haaland to BBC Sport as “playing really well.” It’s obviously really tight. He probably didn’t play in many games when the opposition was as narrow defensively in Germany, but he had to adjust to it and I thought he did fantastically.

“Obviously with the spare man with Gundogan he found him perfectly and he set us up for the win. So he did what he had to do. Obviously he wants to score but if he plays that way it will be good.”

Kevin De Bruyne holds the baton, but City are far from a one-man band

Blue smoke shrouded the Etihad Stadium at kick-off. The message on the pitch, courtesy of a massive banner, had read: ‘This is Manchester.’ If it was meant to signify the arrival of a striking superstar — an update of the ‘Welcome to Manchester’ posters that greeted Carlos Tevez 13 years ago — Erling Haaland could not provide the finish to accompany the fanfare.

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His home debut featured an assist but not a goal, and a lovely pass was perhaps proof that Pep Guardiola’s coaching can turn anyone into a creator, but the virtuoso display came from Kevin de Bruyne. Haaland may yet become the Premier League’s most prolific forward, but De Bruyne has had a status as its most compelling midfielder for years.

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