Pep Guardiola has cautioned that Erling Haaland’s second season at the club could be even more impressive than his first.
Haaland has had a remarkable debut season at the Etihad Stadium and is on the verge of setting a new Premier League record for goals scored in a single season.
He scored his 34th league goal of the campaign, and his 50th goal in total, during City’s triumph over Fulham on Sunday, equalling the record jointly held by Andy Cole and Alan Shearer.
With six games remaining, including the game against West Ham on Wednesday, it appears likely that the 22-year-old Norwegian will establish a formidable new record. However, Guardiola believes that the forward’s best form may still be ahead of him.
Haaland joined the EPL to break records
The City manager said: “Always I’ve said with Erling it will be tough when you look at what he has done – and if he doesn’t score the goals like he’s scoring now people will say, ‘Oh, he’s in a bad situation’ – but his game can improve a lot.
“I wouldn’t say in the box but in the game itself, the movements. I think he has that feeling, ‘Is that enough?’, and I think he has the desire to get better as a player.
“As long as he has that he can do it.”
According to Guardiola, Haaland joined City last summer with the intention of breaking records, after he had scored 86 goals in 89 games for Borussia Dortmund.
He said: “Yes, I think so. I know him a bit and he is so competitive and positive in his mindset.
“He has this incredible, positive self-confidence. It’s not arrogance.
“It’s self-confidence to say I am going to score and to arrive in his first season and score 50 already and equal the record for two legends in Andy Cole and Alan Shearer.”
Guardiola: No one can be compared to Messi
There is a possibility that Haaland could exceed the English record of 63 goals scored by Dixie Dean in 1927-28, given his impressive record so far. Some people have compared Haaland’s record with that of Lionel Messi, who scored 73 goals for Barcelona in the 2011-12 season. However, Guardiola thinks it’s unfair to make comparisons with one of the greatest footballers of all time.
Messi’s former Barca boss said: “No-one can compare with Messi. It will not help Erling.
“Messi is the most complete player I have seen in terms of vision, dribbles, passes, competitiveness, in many things that are difficult.
“Hopefully Erling can be so close (to) Leo, that will be great for us and him, but I don’t help anyone to compare them with the Argentina player.”