Pep Guardiola hailed Erling Haaland’s determination to ‘run like an animal’ after maintaining his superb start at Manchester City with a brilliant derby hat-trick.
The prolific Norwegian scored his third hat-trick of the season – and took his tally for the club to 17 in just 11 appearances – as ruthless champions City beat Premier League rivals Manchester United 6-3.
Phil Foden weighed in with his own hat trick but once again it was the remarkable Haaland, who also had two assists, who stole the show on Sunday at the Etihad Stadium.
City manager Pep Guardiola said: “What Erling is doing, he’s done in Norway, Austria and Germany, that’s the reality.
“He came (here) and realized, ‘Oh, these guys, homies, are running like an animal and I have to do it too’.
“Of course the quality we have at his side helps him score goals but, what he did, I didn’t teach him once.
“When the ball is straight he attacks the box. How he moves behind the centre-back away from the action, he has an incredible instinct that the ball will get there and that comes from his mum and dad. He was born with that and just to help him produce more goals.
“I’ve had some amazing centre-forwards in my career. What I like about the last half of the game is that he’s involved.
“He said: ‘I’d rather touch the ball five times and score five goals’. I don’t like that, I want him to touch the ball more and more, so he became a goal-scoring footballer.
“I like that he is part of more situations, but don’t forget his greatest talent is putting the ball in the net.”
Haaland, who became the first player to score hat-tricks in three successive Premier League games, has started every game since joining City from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.
Guardiola has once again paid tribute to the work the 22-year-old has done on his fitness after he – despite his superb record – was plagued by insignificant injuries earlier in his career.
Guardiola said: “Now we are lucky. Last season he couldn’t play many games, he got injured all the time.
“He arrived here and we have incredible physios. Thanks to them, he can play every 90 minutes. Last season Dortmund couldn’t do it, but we can do it.
City led 4-0 at half-time as they put their neighbors to the sword in a terrific performance that sent a strong message to the rest of the competition.
“It was really good,” said Guardiola, whose side are one point behind leaders Arsenal. “Words are not necessary.
“The best thing is to win the game, but there are still a few things we need to improve.”
Haaland was modest about his latest move.
“Not bad,” he told Sky Sports. “We score six goals, it’s unbelievable. Winning at home and scoring six goals is good.
“You see the passes we give each other. We always want to go forward and attack. That’s what I like about the team. »