Pep Guardiola reaction: Man City boss reveals reasoning behind denying Haaland another hat-trick chance; raves over winger

Pep Guardiola Man City v Copenhagen

Pep Guardiola revealed why he had no choice but to take Erling Haaland off in the 5-0 Champions League rout of FC Copenhagen on Wednesday night.

The unstoppable Haaland scored another two goals as City thrashed the Danish outfit at the Etihad Stadium to close in on a place in the last-16 of the competition.

The prolific Norwegian netted with his first touch and added another before being substituted at half-time in a one-sided Group G clash.

Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez joined him on the scoresheet as City, who also benefited from an own goal, moved closer to the last 16 by maintaining their 100 per cent record in the competition.

Speaking after the game, Guardiola told BT Sport: “We are consistent and fighting for everything. After we won the derby 6-3 we had a lot of confidence so great to play the way we played.

“The result was excellent but I’m really impressed the way we attacked. I’m really, really satisfied and again compliments to the players.

“We played really good in all departments. We were really focused. And many players played at a high level. Everyone has to perform well to help the team and win game-by-game.

On the decision to take off Haaland at half-time when the striker was on for another Etihad hat-trick, Guardiola added: “The game was 3-0 and he’s [Haaland] played a lot of minutes. It was good for the younger players and Cole Palmer was excellent.

“He played unbelievable Jack Grealish. The next step is to score goals.

“We cannot forget that last season we could not beat Southampton. We’ll look at that. We have to put in the mindset that it is a new game and hopefully we do not believe what we did will happen in the next game. We have to win all the games to finish first in the group stage too.”

Mahrez finally off the mark for City

Riyad Mahrez notched his first goal of the season and was pleased to be able to contribute to the win.

He added: “It’s good when we have the ball and are in the opponent’s box. We try to create chances like we always do.

“The score is deserved and is good for the next game. Nice to score goals and to help the team to win as well.

“There has always been competition [for places] maybe less so now but it is good.”

Grealish getting desperate for goals

Meanwhile, Jack Grealish, who was outstanding throughout the match, added: “I loved it. Playing in the Champions League at the Etihad is always great. Three wins out of three to top the group. It was a great night. I’m loving it.

“My last three or four games I feel back to myself. I am playing more with that freedom and confidence. It would help if I got on the scoresheet, I was desperate tonight, but it’s all about enjoying it and winning. When the luck isn’t with you…

“I’ve played a lot of games recently so I’m thankful to the manager for that. I’m playing with a smile on my face and feel like I’m settling in now.”

READ MORE: Guardiola talks of unspoken Haaland impact, confidently claiming ‘no one can compete’ with City star