Erling Haaland will stay one step ahead of Manchester City’s rivals, warns Pep Guardiola

Manchester City striker Erling Haaland (Getty Images)
Manchester City striker Erling Haaland (Getty Images)

Pep Guardiola has warned his rival managers that Erling Haaland will stay one step ahead of the rest of the league and find the solution to any problems they attempt to cause for the free-scoring striker.

After combining yet another hat-trick with two assists in Sunday's Manchester derby, Haaland only needed the first half of Manchester City's 5-0 win over Copenhagen in the Champions League to score a brace and extend his scoring streak to 19 goals in 12 games.

Ahead of facing Southampton at the Etihad on Saturday, the 22-year-old is now only nine goals away from equalling last year's Golden Boot-winning total and has the all-time Premier League record of 34 goals in a single season in his sights.

Guardiola fully expects that opponents will adapt to Haaland's unique abilities as the season goes on, especially given the role of analysis in the modern game, but he is also confident that the Norwegian has

When asked if City's rivals would learn how to play against Haaland, Guardiola said: "In my early days as a football player it didn't happen because we didn't have the right angles, drawings and all the views we have now.

"Of course it's going to happen but that is the point. We are going to find the solution to that problem, and he is going to find the solution to solve that problem. That's for sure."

Guardiola knows that there will be times where Haaland draws a blank - the only top-flight side to have prevented him from scoring so far this season is newly-promoted Bournemouth - but believes his centre-forward is too good to be kept quiet for long.

"There will be games he won't score, there are games where he'll play bad. That's guaranteed. Maybe two games in a row, maybe three. People will say what's happened now? Calm. Next game, we're going to try again."

Haaland's extraordinary rate of scoring is turning him into a phenomenon but Guardiola believes that he is ready to deal with the extra scrutiny and attention that his talents bring, partly because of the influence from his father Alf-Inge.

"He is comfortable with the pressure on his shoulders and the expectations, he's such a normal person. I think he can handle it... Maybe, he was bron in a football environment and I'm pretty sure his father talked football with him, he likes to watch football.

"I'm pretty sure it was good advice, from father to son. All fathers want the best for the sons and I'm pretty sure he's given it to him but in the end it's Erling's own life and experiences.

"He has to take decisions for himself. But we are talking every day about the goals and icnredible stats, but what impresses the most is how lovely a guy he is and that helps us to live our lives much much better."