Pep: Haaland numbers are scary


Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has insisted that there are “many things” his side can improve on despite powering to a 6-3 derby victory over Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium this afternoon.

The Citizens moved back to within one point of early leaders Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table courtesy of one of their most memorable victories over their local rivals.

The champions raced into a 4-0 lead before half time as they ruthlessly put their visitors to the sword, with Erling Braut Haaland and Phil Foden both helping themselves to a brace before the interval.

Both players then went on to seal hat-tricks in the second half, although goals from Antony and a late brace from Anthony Martial meant that Man United outscored their opponents in the second 45.

Man City still ran out 6-3 winners to send out a statement to the rest of the division, but Guardiola nonetheless demanded more from his side after the match.

“It was really good [in the first half]. We scored four goals and could have scored more. After half time it was more difficult. It was a great victory, a great game, everyone was happy in the stadium and we enjoy it against our rivals. It was a good afternoon for us,” Guardiola told Sky Sports News.

“In general it was really good how aggressive we were but of course when they have Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen they have quality. We were aware of the spaces and our players up front made the difference in the first half.

“We can win or lose but there are many things we can do better. Some players were not good today so they have to improve.

“Perfection doesn’t exist, it’s impossible. But we must try to look there. We did good, we can do better, many, many players had sloppy passes. This is not good. We have to be more consistent. In some areas we were still not good.”

Haaland’s hat-trick sent yet more records tumbling as he became the first player in Premier League history to score trebles in three consecutive home games, while his overall top-flight tally for the season now stands at 14 goals in eight outings.

“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,” the Spaniard added.

“He sees 10 players running without the ball with effort for each other so he wants to do it. They visualise it, they see it. It’s why we have success in the last few years. Behind it is effort and desire to do it.”

Guardiola also reserved special praise for Foden, whose own hat-trick included his 50th goal for Man City to become the youngest player to net 50 times under Guardiola – a record he takes from Lionel Messi.

“His desire, how he runs, is the main thing. He deserves to play every time and then he has quality. He is a young player and it is a reality. He deserves everything,” he added.

Man City, who boast by far the league’s best attacking record with 29 goals in eight games, will now turn their attention back to the Champions League and a home group game against FC Copenhagen on Wednesday.