Kevin De Bruyne backed Erling Haaland to get even better after another stunning goalscoring display got Manchester City off to a winning start in the Champions League.
Haaland scored another two goals as Premier League winners City powered to a 4-0 victory over Sevilla in their Group G opener at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on Tuesday.
The Norwegian’s double took his City tally to 12 goals in just eight appearances for the club and his overall record in Europe’s top club competition to 25 in 20 outings.
De Bruyne, who teed up Haaland’s 20th-minute opener in Seville, told BT Sport: “I try to do my job, make the right movements and try to create as many chances as I can.
“I know, one way or another, Erling is going to be there. For the moment he is scoring the goals and obviously it helps us win games, and it is a pretty good thing for him. A perfect start.
“The way he has adapted to us is really good but I think outside the goalscoring there is another part in the game, and I think that part is maybe more tough to adapt to.
“But it makes it more exciting that if he can adjust to the way we play then the level is going to go up and that is what we demand from him.
“If you score that much you can get away with a little bit more but he knows, and we know, we can still do better.”
City’s convincing success eclipsed Borussia Dortmund’s 3-0 win over Copenhagen and took them to the top of the group ahead of next week’s meeting with Haaland’s former club at the Etihad Stadium.
De Bruyne said: “The first away game is very important. You have to set a tone and I think we did that today. Obviously it was a good performance, a good victory and it is nice to start it (that way).”
Three of City’s goals, with Phil Foden and Ruben Dias also on target, came in the second half and manager Pep Guardiola felt they played better after they stopped trying to play directly to Haaland.
Guardiola said: “We made not a good first half – we wanted to attack too quick.
“When they were playing better we scored the second one with a brilliant action from Phil. Then after it was easier. We gave more passes.
“Sometimes we want to rush so quick because Erling is there. You have this attraction of him, we want to attack it sometimes. We have to be more patient.”
Asked if Haaland’s presence could therefore disrupt City’s play, Guardiola said: “I didn’t say that! I prefer to have him.”
Guardiola went on to hail Haaland’s awareness in front of goal.
He said: “I think his numbers in all his career – not just here, when he was in previous teams – is quite similar. He has an incredible sense of goal.
“He scored two in the centre and had (the chances) for two or three more. We have incredible numbers scoring goals and (we want) to continue like that.
“We have another battle against Tottenham on Saturday and hopefully he can continue scoring goals.”
— Erling Haaland (@ErlingHaaland) September 6, 2022
Guardiola was also asked about Haaland in his post-match press conference and he admitted the line of questioning was something he was happily getting used to.
He said: “I love this routine – it has been a routine every single press conference after the games when you ask me about him and his goals.
“Hopefully we can continue this routine.
“The numbers speak for themselves but it is not just his two goals. He is always there and always with the feeling he could score more goals.”
Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui, who is under pressure after a dismal start in LaLiga, had no complaints about the result.
He said: “City deserved to win the game. They were quite superior.
“But throughout the game I believe we had moments, perhaps at the beginning, when we showed promise, a little bit more than in this year.
“But we found difficulties. City are a very good team in all respects, very complete.”