Guardiola talks of unspoken Haaland impact, confidently claiming ‘no one can compete’ with Man City star
Pep Guardiola believes there is no one in world football who can stop Erling Haaland scoring goals for Manchester City right now.
The Norway striker has enjoyed a blistering start to life in the Premier League, scoring 14 goals in eight games. What’s more, that has seen him net three Etihad Stadium hat-tricks in a row.
Haaland shows no signs of slowing down and will be targeting Mohamed Salah’s league season record of 32 strikes.
And having fired past Manchester United already, he will have Liverpool in his sights later this month.
For now, though, Haaland’s attentions turn to the Champions League. City face FC Copenhagen at home on Wednesday, with Haaland looking to add to his tally of three in two games in Europe.
But, City boss Guardiola feels there is a lot more to his game than just goals.
“At his age no one can compete with him,” the Spaniard told his pre-match press conference.
“The numbers speak for themselves and inside, in the locker room, and on the pitch we see things that are not in the stats that make us feel happy to have him here.”
Guardiola lauds Haaland and Foden
Such is the quality up front for Man City this season, Haaland is not the only star of the show.
Phil Foden also netted a hat-trick against Man Utd and is two months younger than the striker, with the pair both 22.
Asked to compare the duo’s development, Guardiola said: “[Foden is an] exceptional player, [he] grew up a lot.
“He’s reliable [with] his physical condition, so intense and clever in everything.
“[He] can play every three days. They both know they can do better and hopefully they can do it.”
Guardiola added when pressed on a potential new contract for Foden that he wants the England international “to stay years and years”.
In defence, the manager lauded summer signing Manuel Akanji for stepping in following the injury to John Stones.
“Really good, we are very pleased,” he said. “Especially as a person, [he’s] incredibly educated, the performances speak for themselves too.”
On the injury front, Guardiola added: “Rodri feels better and I think Kyle [Walker] is out, but we will wait for the training session [on Tuesday].”
Man City star knows no bounds
Haaland has 17 goals in Man City colours and he is nowhere near halfway through his first full season there.
That is not the only frightening statistic as to how far he can go this season.
He is only nine goals away from hitting 23 Premier League strikes, the tally which has scooped the Golden Boot in the last three seasons.
Speaking in September after Haaland’s first Champions League goals, the BT Sport pundits predicted what he would finish on for the campaign.
Owen Hargreaves said 45, Rio Ferdinand 41 and Joleon Lescott predicted “early 40s”.
However, if he carries on at his current rate, Haaland will – according to BBC Sport – finish the season with 66 goals.
It seems as if the striker will write his own story and only he will know inside what he can get to. Although, the prospect of seeing him score that many goals is a frightening one for every team trying to stop him.