Pep Guardiola said it is “scary” how many goals Erling Haaland is scoring after the Manchester City forward became the first player ever to get three hat-tricks in as many Premier League home matches to inspire his side to a 6-3 win over Manchester United.
Haaland also got two assists and Guardiola was pleased a finisher is getting involved more in the rest of the game, rather than just restricting himself to the penalty box.
The Norwegian now has 14 goals in eight league games, but while Guardiola said he did not deserve the credit for the forward’s scoring spree in a City shirt, he feels the work ethic of his players is making Haaland “run like an animal”.
He said: “The numbers speak for himself. He has done this before here. It is not our way. Always we try to help him in our environment. We have this incredible sense that he always looks starving and is so competitive. The numbers are scary, honestly.
“Of course, the quality we have alongside him helps him to score goals. But what he has done, I didn’t teach him once. When the ball is right, and he attacks the box, how he moves behind the central defender away from the action, he has incredible instincts that the ball will arrive there and it comes from his mum and dad. He was born with that and [we] just help him produce more goals.
“What they have done today, Erling has done in Norway, in Austria and in Germany, that is the reality. He came and realised: ‘Oh, these guys, my mates, run like an animal and I have to do it, too.’”
“What I like in the last period of the game is he is involved. He said: ‘I prefer to touch the ball five times and score five goals’. I don’t like that, I want him to touch the ball more and more, so he became a football player to score goals. I like that he’s part more for the situations, but don’t forget his biggest talent is to put the ball in the net.”
However, despite becoming just the fourth side to score six goals in a Premier League game against United, City can get better, Guardiola said.
“There are things obviously we have to improve, sloppy and easy balls we are losing,” he explained. “We concede still some actions for the opponents with simple things we were not doing well.”
Phil Foden rounded out the scoring for City with his own hat-trick, while Antony netted United’s first goal of the afternoon before Anthony Martial grabbed a brace.