Pep compares Haaland hunger to Messi after Premier League debut double

David Segar
Stats Perform
Pep Guardiola (C) shakes Erling Haaland's hand as he comes off for Manchester City against West Ham
Pep Guardiola (C) shakes Erling Haaland's hand as he comes off for Manchester City against West Ham

Pep Guardiola said Erling Haaland's hunger for goals reminded him of his time working with Lionel Messi after the Norwegian opened his Manchester City account.

Pre-season arrival Haaland scored both goals in City's 2-0 win at West Ham on Sunday as the Premier League champions got their 2022-23 campaign off to a flying start.

However, in a post-match interview with Sky Sports, Haaland intimated he was unhappy not to have scored a hat-trick, as he did on his debut for previous club Borussia Dortmund against Augsburg in January 2020.

Speaking at a media conference after the victory over the Hammers, Guardiola praised his new striker's desire and compared him to Barcelona legend Messi, saying: "That's good, I like it.

"I was fortunate as manager to be with Messi and when he scored two, he wanted three, and when scored three, he wants four.

"The top goalscorers are never satisfied, they are always hungry and starving and want more."

Haaland came in for some criticism after missing a number of chances in City's 3-1 Community Shield defeat to Liverpool last week, and Guardiola was impressed by his response on Sunday.

He won and converted a penalty in the first half, before racing onto a Kevin De Bruyne pass to slot home a second goal to make the points safe after the break.

"I know how he handled a lot of criticism this week," the City manager added. "He was really calm, he trained really well but the way he took the ball for the penalty, I said 'I like it'.

"[He's] so direct and I think if someone is taking the ball, he would punch them in the face even though they are his mates.

"And that is a pretty good sign. To be so confident, I like it."

Many believe the defending Premier League champions have strengthened even further by acquiring the impressive number nine, but Guardiola acknowledged Haaland will not be the answer on all occasions.

"Erling scoring the two goals, it's important for him and the team and for us, and it's another weapon we have now," he said.

"But at the same time, he's not going to solve all our problems, he's going to add something to us as a team. That's what we are looking for.

"Today, the two goals, they were balls in front of the centre of defence and we had the feeling we could find him more.

"In the past we didn't have a reference like him and now have to do it again but at the same time, the guys have to put the ball there, especially in transitions."

Tags

Premier LeagueManchester CityErling Braut Haaland
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