Friday, May 24, 2024

Haaland ´back to business´ as Guardiola lauds four-goal Man City star in Wolves win

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 4 May 2024

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Pep Guardiola says Erling Haaland is “back to business” after his four-goal demolition of Wolves that kept Manchester City in touch of Premier League leaders Arsenal.

The Gunner dispatched Bournemouth 3-0 earlier on Saturday but Haaland’s first-half hat-trick – including two penalties – started a roaring response from City at Etihad Stadium.

Haaland added his fourth after the interval before Julian Alvarez wrapped up the scoring, with Hwang Hee-Chan’s second-half strike a mere consolation in a 5-1 hammering of Wolves.

Victory extended Man City’s unbeaten run in the Premier League to 20 games (W16 D4), while they have won each of the last six in a row, netting 4+ goals on five occasions in that run.

Moving just a point with Arsenal and still boasting a game in hand, Guardiola was relieved to see a firing return to form for Haaland, whose April was hampered by injury issues.

“It looks comfortable but it was not,” the City manager told Sky Sports. “In the end we created more chances but in the transition we were not precise in the last pass.

“But Erling is back to business. Penalties are a guarantee but the second and fourth [goals] were unbelievable.

“The 20 minutes he [Haaland] played against Nottingham Forest was really good and today as well. We won, but it was so long an injury.

“It is welcome he arrived in the right moment, but we arrive together because Erling and Kevin [De Bruyne] have been out.”

Having scored a hat-trick in this exact fixture last season, Haaland became just the third player to score a home treble against the same opponent in consecutive Premier League campaigns.

The Norway talisman also became the third player to score multiple first-half hat-tricks in Premier League history (also against Forest last season), along with Andrew Cole and Michael Owen (two each).

Yet the City forward appeared somewhat annoyed with his late substitution for Alvarez.

“He’s a little bit frustrated, but I understand,” Guardiola added. “He was frustrated with the referee. With the long balls sometimes they push him and he is pulled. Yes, it is like that.”

City will play their game in hand against Tottenham on May 14, with that their chance to move clear of Mikel Arteta’s side.

Guardiola insists his team must win all their remaining fixtures to lift the top-flight trophy once more.

“Goal difference is not possible, we cannot draw,” he added. “The way Arsenal have been playing has been so good and consistent.

“It’s three games, hopefully we win the first and the second and arrive to the third with our destiny in our own hands.”

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