Erling Haaland received the highest praise from Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola when he compared the teenage striker’s drive for goals to that of Lionel Messi when he played for Barcelona.
It was expected that Erling Haaland would grab all the attention as the defending Premier League winners defeated West Ham 2-0 to begin their championship defense.
The Norwegian, who was making his English Premier League debut, fit right in, scoring a superb brace at the London Stadium.
The $51 million transfer from Borussia Dortmund’s first goal saw the Hammers’ new player grasp onto a pass from Ilkay Gundogan and earn a penalty with his scary speed.
The 22-year-old was under pressure to eliminate his spot-kick, and he did so in ice-cold form.
The Leeds-born striker, though, was far from finished as he finished off a beautiful Kevin De Bruyne pass to beat Alphonse Areola and end the match in the second half.
Although Haaland has received a lot of praise for his performances this weekend, many weren’t sure if he would be able to adjust to the playing style of his new team until after City’s Community Shield defeat to Liverpool by a score of 3-1.
As fans and analysts continued to have doubts about Haaland’s ability to adapt to Premier League football, it could be said that he had a forgettable performance against Liverpool.
Pep Guardiola focused on Haaland’s tenacity to recover from an early setback and stand up to take the penalty in the first half when discussing his star signing’s Man of the Match performance against David Moyes’ team on Sunday.
The Manchester City boss commented following the victory, “I know how he (Haaland) took a lot of criticism this week.
Guardiola praised Haaland’s courage in assuming a leadership role as City battled the Hammers in pursuit of their first goal of the new campaign.
“He was incredibly cool, he prepared pretty well, but the way he took the ball for the penalty,” the 51-year-old remarked.
Even though they are his friends, I think Haaland would strike them in the face if they were stealing the ball since it was so direct. That is a really encouraging indicator. I admire how confident you are.
Guardiola praised the drive of his star striker after Haaland said he was eager for the next challenge following a sensational debut.
“I like it, that’s good. Because Messi was with me as manager, he wanted three goals when he scored two, and four when he scored three, according to Guardiola.
The best goal scorers are never satiated; they are constantly famished and ravenous.
The Manchester City manager continued by talking about the unique quality that Haaland brings to his team. Haaland helped City win back-to-back Premier League titles, partly due to the lack of a natural striker.
Erling (Haaland) scoring the two goals was crucial for him, the squad, and for us, and it gave us a new tool. He will, however, bring something to the table for the team as a whole; he won’t fix all of our difficulties.
The two goals scored today were balls in front of the defense’s center, and we thought we could have found him more easily.
“We used to not have a reference like him, but we do now. However, the guys still need to put the ball there, especially during transitions. Jack’s second goal and subsequent action were both fantastic (Grealish).
“When this happens with Kevin (De Bruyne), with one player, it’s hard to stop. The ball was fed to him, he kept the ball, attracted the opponents, and found a pocket.