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Friday, December 9, 2022

Haaland peerless at just 22, says Man City boss Guardiola

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Manchester — Erling Haaland’s goalscoring achievements at the age of 22 are unmatched by any other player according to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, who urged the Norwegian to keep improving.

Haaland has scored 17 goals in 10 competitive games for City since joining from Borussia Dortmund, where he struck 86 times in 89 matches.

He has scored a hat-trick in each of City’s past three home Premier League games and became the quickest player to reach 25 Champions League goals with an acrobatic winner against Dortmund three weeks ago.

“At his age no-one can compete with him,” Guardiola said on Tuesday, before his side’s home match against FC Copenhagen on Wednesday. “The numbers speak for themselves.

“Inside, on the pitch, in the locker room, we see things that are not in the stats that make us feel happy to have him here.”

Another 22-year-old, Phil Foden, also scored a hat-trick as City put local rivals Manchester United to the sword in a 6-3 win on Sunday.

Foden is reportedly close to signing a new contract to tie his future to the club where he came through the academy.

“Due to his performance during these years, of course we want him to stay,” said Guardiola.

“He’s an exceptional player, he grew up a lot. Already he is many years with us, he’s reliable in terms of his physical condition, he’s so intense in everything, every three days he is able play.

“Both (Haaland and Foden), they know they can do better and hopefully they can do it.”

After beating Sevilla and Dortmund in their opening two group games, City can close in on the Champions League last-16 with another victory over Copenhagen.

But Guardiola is wary of taking the Danish champions lightly after the euphoria from City’s derby win.

“We have to be careful,” he said. “We have to come back to reality. If we can make nine points in three games we will be so close to the next stage.”

Rodri could return after missing the United clash with a calf strain, but Kyle Walker is expected to miss out.

AFP

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