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The art of football management is multi faceted, not only are personal relationships between management and players key to reaching a team's full potential, but it is also the communication skills and respect between management levels and support staff that further aides the first team squad.

The best managers in the world wide game know this themselves and that is why they ever so carefully appoint the team around them for their support strength and knowledge, and very quickly get to know which players need an arm around them and a quiet word, and those who proverbial need a kick up the backside, to be called out and given the 'hair dryer treatment' (copyright Sir Alex Ferguson).

This goes beyond the personal interactions at the training ground, and in the dressing room and very much now rolls itself into the world of modern media, and pre and post game press conferences and for those who use The Punters Page, you would get good odds on some of the daft and dumb questions now being asked.

Knowing what to say, and when to say it, is key, and a recent interview with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola sort of aptly proves the point when he was questioned about Erling Haaland's day to forget against Chelsea last weekend.

The 23 year old Norwegian international hotshot has continued his development with previous clubs earlier in his career at the Etihad Stadium, and having signed for them back in the summer of 2022 for £51.2 million, he now has 53 Premier League goals to his name in just 52 top flight appearances.

Against Chelsea though, he fluffed all of his nine attempts in the game and in his total 79 appearances across all competitions for them, this was the first time he ever had nine attempts in a game without finding the net on at least one occasion.

In the modern game, this is now apparently a talking point in the wider media, however pathetic a talking point might be, especially in light of his record.

Questioned after the game, Guardiola was insistent that the draw that they secured was down to an over all poor performance (first half particularly) and not solo on the head of the Norwegian talent - seven of his attempts in the game were with his head.

Furthermore, Guardiola was adamant that Haaland's own scoring record in the Premier League and European games stood as an absolute testament as to why he was not going to be concerned with one game that was out of the ordinary, or even begin to try and start lecturing him on how he could find the net in future matches.

"It's good he had nine shots - the next game he is going to score. Listen, I was a football player. I played 11 years and scored 11 goals. What a stat, hey? One goal a season, those are my stats. So, I am not the proper man to give advice to the striker, and what they have to do. We created the chances, he had the chances and next game he is going to score. I don't blame him for is football, it is human beings."

Given his phenomenal record since arriving in professional football, let alone the English top flight game itself, and with 25 goals in all competitions for his club (including games for his country) so far during the 2023/24 campaign, it is inevitable that the player will occasionally not get the rub of the green, that bit of lady luck and be quite as clinical as his record now suggests.

Everyone has an off day, every striker hits a bit of a barren period of form during a season, let alone across their career as a whole. It is not the first such moment for Haaland, and it will certainly not be the last given the easy decade of football games he has ahead of him before he will even begin thinking genuinely about a retirement from the game and hanging his boots up.

The Chelsea match stood out simply because of the nine stat, nothing else. It means nothings, and he scored a brace two games earlier against Everton, and just as Guardiola predicted, he did find the net in their next encounter - he scored the winner against Brentford on Tuesday evening - so what exactly was all the fuss about, and why the need for headlines.

Guardiola managed his response perfectly, and Haaland responded.

Sometimes that is all it takes.

Etihad Stadium Manchester

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