hailed the return of but insisted the was not prepared to take risks with the Norwegian goal machine against Fulham on Saturday.
Haaland missed last weekend’s win over as well as the subsequent victory over Sevilla in midweek and was deemed only fit enough to start on the bench against the Cottagers.
Explaining his decision, Guardiola said: ‘He is feeling better he could play but he is not in perfect situation but he is on the bench just in case we need him.
‘We will see. The game will dictate what we have to do.
‘Of course he is an important player we don’t deny it. He is our top scorer we won the last two games but he is so important for us and he’s back.’
Guardiola opted to stick with the same forward line that started at the King Power Stadium seven days ago, much to the surprise of former Arsenal star Paul Merson who assumed Haaland would have been unleashed.
He told Sky Sports: ‘I am surprised, but I’m sure they’ll have enough without Haaland in the team.
‘You can’t take chances for me the main thing is to win the Champions League and make sure he is fully fit after the World Cup.
‘I know he’s not going but sometimes that works the other way, people say that’s really handy but you are talking a lot weeks without football.
‘You might go and play the odd friendly. You want to play football you want to play competitive games friendlies are not the same.
‘I’m surprised he’s not playing in a way because he won’t have much football in the next month or so but good news for City.’
, ., and .