Guardiola praises Haaland and admonishes De Bruyne after latest Man City victory

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was short of words to describe Erling Haaland’s impact in his side after their 3 – 1 rout of Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League on Saturday.

The 21-year-old took his tally to 17 after 11 games in the Premier League and 22 in all competitions with a brace to send the Cityzens top of the league, pending the result of Arsenal’s match against Southampton on Sunday.

His 17 goals is only six behind the total number scored by Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-Min last season to seal the Premier League Golden Boot. The brace also extends his lead in the current race by eight goals with over half the season to go.

Guardiola was asked to comment on the impact of the Norway international on his side. “My English language is not big enough,” the Cityzens boss said. “Erling has the quality. With big space he can do it but with small space he can do it. This is the reality, it is fantastic.”

City, however, needed the talismanic Kevin De Bruyne to secure the points 15 minutes from time after Brighton struck through Leandro Trossard in the second half. But Guardiola believes that De Bruyne has not been at his blistering best this season.

“It can be better,” the Spanish tactician said of the Belgian’s performances of late. “He is not playing at his top level, not yet. He scored a fantastic goal but he is not playing at his best.

“He knows (this). I don’t need to tell him. His dynamism is still not perfect but the goal was outstanding and thanks to him we did not suffer in the last 15 minutes.”

Commenting on the game which his team dominated but for the spell of pressure from Brighton in the second half which led to Trossard’s goal, Guardiola said: “The turning point was when Riyad had the chance. Normally he doesn’t miss them but it is football and it can happen.

“One minute later we conceded a goal. After that it was difficult, they were better but Kevin came up with a masterclass action and we won the game.

“The game was one of the toughest ones we could face. They propose the type of game we are not used to. Few teams are used to it.”

Meanwhile, Brighton’s manager Roberto De Zerbi, who remains winless after five games in charge, expressed disappointment after his side’s latest failure to secure all three points in the league. The Italian said: “I am sad, not only for today but for these five games.

“I want to speak only about the performance of my players, not VAR or penalties. I think in the second half we played very well. We had a chance to score 2-2.

“We can play very well but the results these last five games are not fair.”

City travel to Leicester next Saturday to face the Foxes as they continue to chase Arsenal and secure themselves as league leaders.






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