Guardiola: Record-breaking Haaland a 'special talent'

·2-min read

Pep Guardiola labelled Erling Haaland a "special talent" after the striker scored a perfect first-half hat-trick in Manchester City's 6-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.

Haaland, who is averaging a goal every 43 minutes since arriving in the Premier League, has now made the most prolific start to a career in the competition on record.

His third goal against Forest, scored with a close-range header after 38 minutes, was his ninth in five Premier League outings, bettering the eight-goal hauls managed by Sergio Aguero and Micky Quinn through their first five appearances in the competition.

Haaland needed just 16 touches to score his treble, and Guardiola is delighted to see the striker sending records tumbling so early in his Premier League career.

"I know he is happy and scoring goals, but I think what he wants is to win," Guardiola told BT Sport.

"The records are okay, if you withdraw the records and he cannot score goals, we cannot win some games. I'm pretty sure he would not like it.

"He's a special talent, he has an incredible sense of goals. He didn't touch one ball and his first touch is a goal, so... he is Erling.

Erling Haaland
Erling Haaland

"He's strong in all departments but especially in that sense, he smells in the box unlike anyone else and his finishing is so good.

"His work ethic as well is great. We are delighted about the way he has done it."

Haaland was not the only recent City arrival to make headlines on Wednesday, as Julian Alvarez marked his first Premier League start with a second-half brace.

And Guardiola says everyone at City will be proud of his contribution, adding: "He is new, he came from another continent. We see him every day, all of us. The work ethic and being a nice guy always pays off.

"There's not one person in the locker room, there's not one person in the backroom staff that is not happy for his two goals, for the incredible effort he has done."

Meanwhile, City's dominant display saw them maintain their unbeaten start to the Premier League season, and they have now scored 14 goals through their first three home games of the campaign.

While a 3-3 draw at Newcastle United means the champions have not opened the season in perfect fashion, Guardiola is satisfied by the levels shown by City thus far.

"I think we've played really well all season so far. We conceded transitions against Newcastle and could not control [Allan] Saint-Maximin but apart from that, our level in all the games was high."