The Norwegian netted his second consecutive hat-trick for Manchester City on Wednesday
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes that Erling Haaland has what it takes to become a club legend after the Norwegian netted his second hat-trick in two games against Nottingham Forest in the Premier League on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old needed just 26 minutes of the first half to guarantee that he would take the match ball home, after doing the same following a 4-2 comeback win against Crystal Palace at the weekend.
City’s triumph was far more straightforward this time round, with the Mancunians giving new boys Forest a 6-0 baptism of fire thanks to extra goals from Joao Cancelo and Haaland’s fellow forward Julian Alvarez, who scored a brace.
In his post-match interview, Guardiola was drawn into making comparisons between Haaland and his predecessor in Sergio Aguero, and tipped the youngster to likewise etch his name in Etihad folklore.
“Sergio is the legend. Nobody can break the position in the hearts of City fans, scoring the most important goal in the modern history,” Guardiola said, in reference to a 2012 last day of the season injury time winner the Argentine netted to give City their first of six Premier League titles.
“Erling has the quality to be there. It’s not about him or Sergio. What Sergio has done is amazing. But Erling has this talent,” Guardiola went on.
“When City bought Erling, everybody talked about what he has done in the past. What we wanted to do is help him. Hopefully he can enjoy and score more goals.
“What he has done in Norway, Austria and Germany he tries to do here. He’s talented, we knew it,” Guardiola pointed out.
For the Catalan, though, he thinks that winning silverware is more important to the prodigy than scooping personal accolades such as the Premier League Golden Boot.
“I think what we want [to do] is win the titles,” Guardiola stressed
“If the record and the goals help to win it will be perfect. Knowing him a little bit, I don’t know if he’d be happy breaking records if we didn’t win titles.
“I think he wants to be part of that. The better we play, he’ll have more chances to score goals,” Guardiola concluded.
Despite what Guardiola says, however, the fact that Haaland has notched nine goals in just five Premier League outings since joining from Borussia Dortmund on a £51 million ($59 million) transfer earlier this summer makes it difficult not to think that he will already start smashing records.
Though his 26-minute hat trick was some still way off that which Sadio Mane blasted for Southampton in just two minutes 56 seconds in May 2015, Haaland maintaining his current average of 1.8 goals a game would see him secure around 68 strikes and therefore obliterate record 34-goal tallies from Andy Cole (1993-1994) and Alan Shearer (1994-1995).
That City will encounter more difficult opponents than Palace and Forest means that those kinds of numbers are unlikely, while Haaland also has a history of injuries that could keep him sidelined at some points of the season.
But it is safe to say that the target man has gotten off to the best possible start to life in England and goes into Saturday’s match against second-from-bottom Aston Villa with his confidence sky high.
Already, he has bagged as many hat-tricks as Mane, Eden Hazard and Son Heung-min after just five games in the English top flight and has eclipsed Aguero’s tally of eight goals and one hat-trick in that time when joining from Atletico Madrid in 2011.
You can share this story on social media: