Sheffield United braced for “unbelievable” Erling Haaland challenge in Man City clash

Blades braced for “unbelievable” Haaland test
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Sheffield United are bracing themselves for the challenge of facing arguably the world’s most fearsome striker on Sunday in the shape of Erling Haaland. The Manchester City superstar scored 61 goals in 61 games for club and country last season as his side won the treble.

United came face-to-face with the Norwegian at Wembley back in April, for their FA Cup semi-final against City. Haaland went into that game having scored 15 times in his last seven games but did not get on the scoresheet against United, with Riyad Mahrez scoring a hat-trick in City’s 3-0 win.

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“It’s all a unit, it’s a team effort,” club skipper John Egan, who played in that game, said. “We defended well for the majority of that game and we did take confidence from that. You have to. They’re a top-quality team and we just have to keep trying to improve.

“You know from looking at yourself, he [Haaland] is quality. His goal record is insane and you have to be on it 100 per cent because these guys can punish you at any minute. You have to concentrate as a team from the first whistle to the last. His all-round game is unbelievable and that’s why he has the goals he has. We’ve been doing work all week in training to see what our game-plan is and work on it.”

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Haaland is far from City’s only threat, however, with £55m new boy Jeremy Doku expected to make his debut after signing from Rennes. Kevin De Bruyne is out but World Cup winner Julian Alvarez could feature alongside the likes of Phil Foden and Jack Grealish.

“Concentration is a big part of it,” Egan added. “We have to be on it 100 per cent to try and get something out of the game. We can draw on experiences from the past and relay that to players, we have a lot of experience in the group and lads aren’t shy about speaking their mind.

“They have threats all over the pitch, they are where they are because they have top quality. Coming up against that, we have to put our own plan in action and be at it 100 per cent to try and get something. We have to enjoy the occasion but a big part of that is performing.”