Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes Erling Haaland has already silenced doubters after his debut double sunk West Ham 2-0.
Haaland had faced criticism for his stunning performance in last weekend’s Community Shield loss to Liverpool.
But the £51m striker heralded his Premier League arrival in style with a goal each half, a penalty followed by a tidy finish to open his City account.
“A week ago he couldn’t adapt to the Premier League. Now he’s alongside Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer and Cristiano Ronaldo,” smiled City coach Guardiola.
“He’s a guy with incredible talent, a goalscorer. I’ve known him for a month. I know how he’s dealt with criticism this week and he’s been calm, he’s been training really well. We’ll see how he reacts when he gets compliments.”
Haaland was already wide of a header when he had a chance to score.
Alphonse Areola was only minutes in West Ham’s goal after coming on to replace the injured Lukasz Fabianski when he brought down the Norway international.
There was only one player going to take the penalty and Haaland expertly sent Areola the wrong way with a low penalty that sliced into a post on the way.
“The way he took the ball to take the penalty, I was like, ‘Oh, I like that,'” Guardiola added.
“I think if someone took that ball, they would have punched their teammates in the face. I’m pretty sure of that, and that’s a good sign.
“You have to be confident and ambitious and have a ruthless mentality. And of course he hit it.”
Haaland ended the game with 25 minutes remaining when he sped to Kevin De Bruyne’s through ball and slotted it past Areola.
The 22-year-old was likely keen on another debut hat-trick, having previously managed the feat twice, but Guardiola took him off with 15 minutes to go.
“I was fortunate to be with Lionel Messi as a coach and if he scored two goals he wanted three, if he scored three goals he wanted four and if he scored four he wanted five,” said Guardiola.
“The top scorers, the strikers, they are never satisfied. They are always hungry, starving, they always want more and more.
“But at the same time I have to include the new players and make sure everyone gets the minutes.”
West Ham have been looking for the capture there. Despite a summer of rebuilding, they somehow managed to start the season with only one inside half available.
“It was really difficult,” said manager David Moyes, who revealed defender Issa Diop had not made himself available to play.
“They played really well. We found it very difficult today. It was really difficult to deal with tactically. We couldn’t get near her today.
“From our point of view we were resilient, we persevered and stuck with it.
“But today we should be talking about Manchester City. You played very well. Hopefully we can do better in the coming weeks and months.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/erling-haaland-pep-guardiola-west-ham-liverpool-david-moyes-b2140266.html Erling Haaland has silenced his early doubters, City boss Pep Guardiola claims