Haaland’s five goals sent a warning to Man City’s rivals

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Haaland’s five goals sent a warning to Man City’s rivals


Manchester City is in the Champions League quarter-finals for the sixth consecutive season, but Erling Haaland’s A five-goal 7-0 thrashing of RB Leipzig sent Europe warning that this could be a different season for the Premier League champions.

Pep Guardiola admitted ahead of Tuesday’s last 16, second leg of his tenure at City that will be defined by winning or not winning the Champions League despite his side’s dominance of the Premier League in recent years.

Seven years after Guardiola’s arrival, City are still waiting for their first European crown.

This is why they pushed the boat on transfer fees and salaries to win the race to sign Haaland from Borussia Dortmund for a price of £51 million ($62 million) last summer thanks to the sale of the Norwegian.

In just 35 games, Haaland has already rewritten City’s history books by scoring 39 goals in one season.

The most Champions League marks were achieved on Tuesday as Haaland’s five goals equaled the record shared by Lionel Messi and Luiz Adriano for most goals in the Champions League.

In the process the 22-year-old also became the youngest player to pass 30 in a European club competition and 32 in just 25 appearances.

“I was very tired after my performances,” Haaland said. “My greatest strength is scoring goals.”

City don’t always have that clinical edge when it comes to the latter stages of the Champions League.

Missed chances have been a common theme of Guardiola’s departure to Europe’s best.

“He was very hungry,” said RB Leipzig manager Marco Rose, who coached Haaland at Dortmund.

“He scored with the foot, with the head, he won second balls, he made deep runs. It all looked easy tonight. It was a special night for him.”

It would have been more special if Guardiola hadn’t removed Haaland with 25 minutes to go.

“I told him I would love to score twice, but what can I do?” added Haaland.

Guardiola responded by joking that the star player’s life “would not be interesting” if he broke all the records before his 23rd birthday.

But what both the player and the manager have in common is the desire for City to become European champions.

Despite Haaland’s impressive statistics, there are still some teething problems in his first season in England.

At times he cut a frustrated figure as he ran at full-backs unknown to his teammates in Premier League victories over Manchester United and Tottenham.

But Guardiola also urged Haaland to adapt to City’s style by becoming a complete player who can connect the game as well as finishing in the box.

“Today he scored five goals and I think he had 30 or 35 balls, that’s what we were looking for because we had the feeling when you join the game in defense, bad, when The ball comes to score a goal, you. It’s more accurate,” said Guardiola.

“He can do it, but it’s hard to score goals if you don’t touch the ball for 40 or 50 minutes.

“Sometimes it’s his fault because sometimes he doesn’t move… but other times it’s our fault that we didn’t catch him.”

The concern for City’s opponents at home and abroad is that those minor problems may have been ironed out in time for the final and most important three months of the season.


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