Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted he did not expect Erling Haaland to break the Premier League’s all-time single season scoring record.
Haaland bagged his 35th goal of the season in Wednesday’s 3-0 win over West Ham, surpassing the record held by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer, who both accomplished the feat in 42-game campaigns.
The 22-year-old made it to that figure in just 31 games, with a further five left in the season, and Guardiola confessed Haaland’s feat is all the more impressive considering his substitutions haven’t always helped.
“Incredible,” Guardiola told BBC Sport. “He’s just 22 – and still has five games left. How many games I made the substitution after a hat-trick in 60 minutes, maybe he’d have scored more. But maybe he’d have got injured. He’s special. Congratulations to him.
“We expected him to score goals but to break Cole and Shearer records… I’m pretty sure what he wants is to win the Premier League. We have one game in hand but still just one point in front. We have to keep going and recover well.”
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Guardiola later added to Sky Sports: “It’s unbelievable. How many important goals he’s scored to win games, we are so satisfied.
“He’s a unique person and he’s so special. He deserved the guard of honour because it’s an incredible milestone. Another day he might break his own record. He’s scored a lot of goals!”
City are back at the top of the Premier League table, one point ahead of Arsenal having played one game fewer. The two teams will not level out on games played until City face Brighton later this month in their second rearranged fixture.
In City’s immediate future, however, is a visit from Haaland’s hometown side of Leeds on Saturday.
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