Pep Guardiola claims Erling Haaland is incomparable and even better than the stats suggest.
Haaland has made a stunning start at Manchester City, scoring 17 goals in just 11 games since joining from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
The Norwegian’s hat-trick against Manchester United on Sunday was notably his third in a row in home Premier League games.
The 22-year-old is averaging a goal every 54 minutes, has made 42 shots and also provided three assists, two of which came in United’s 6-3 derby demolition at the weekend.
On Wednesday he hopes to extend his record of 26 Champions League goals from 21 games as City hosts FC Copenhagen.
Manager Guardiola said: “Nobody can match him at his age. The numbers speak for themselves and inside, in the dressing room and on the pitch we see things that aren’t in the stats that make us happy to have him here.”
Haaland wasn’t the only City player to shine on Sunday, with midfielder Phil Foden, also 22, scoring a hat-trick.
Despite the high demands, Guardiola believes there is still more to be expected from both.
The Spaniard said: “Phil is an exceptional player. He has grown up and has been with us for many years. He’s reliable in terms of his physical condition and he’s so intense and clever in everything. He can play every three days.
“But both know they can do better and hope they can do it.”
One player who has yet to shine this season is Riyad Mahrez, who was one of the stars of last season’s title win and Champions League semi-finals.
The Algerian international has only started four times and has yet to score.
Guardiola said: “I know exactly how important Riyadh is. We need him to get back to his best – his best in terms of personality, skill, quality, his love of the game and his enjoyment of the game.
“Step by step he will come back. He doesn’t play much now but he has to come back in better physical shape and then the rest will come. As a player I can’t teach him anything, he’s too good.”
City already have a three-point lead in Group G after winning their opening two games against Sevilla and Dortmund.
They are now hoping to make a firm move to the last 16 in their back-to-back games against the Danish champions.
Guardiola wants to put the joy of the weekend aside to focus on the task ahead.
He said: “You have to be careful. One mistake and now you have no time to recover. We know how important our home games are.
“I spent last night and this morning watching Copenhagen. They are really good, well organized and you have to be careful.
“You have to come back to reality and make an effort to win an important game. If we could get nine points from three games, we’d be that close to the next stage.”
Right-back Kyle Walker is expected to be out after being substituted against United while midfielder Rodri’s calf problem is investigated.
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/pep-guardiola-phil-foden-manchester-city-borussia-dortmund-riyad-mahrez-b2195240.html Man City: “No one can match Erling Haaland,” claims Pep Guardiola