Pep Guardiola hails Erling Haaland mentality after 50 goals reached in Man City win at Fulham

Mentality monster: Pep Guardiola hailed Erling Haaland after he made it 50 goals for the season already (AP)
Mentality monster: Pep Guardiola hailed Erling Haaland after he made it 50 goals for the season already (AP)

Pep Guardiola praised Erling Haaland’s “strong mentality” after the Norwegian striker made it 50 goals for the season in Manchester City’s 2-1 win at Fulham.

Haaland converted a third-minute penalty to put City ahead at Craven Cottage, but Carlos Vinicius struck back with a superb volley 12 minutes later.

The visitors were back in front when Julian Alvarez — in for the “not fully fit” Kevin De Bruyne — curled a stunning strike into the top corner. Victory saw City leapfrog Arsenal into top spot in the Premier League.

Haaland’s penalty meant he levelled Alan Shearer’s long-standing record for the most goals scored in a Premier League season, with 34. It was his 50th goal of the season in all competitions, making him the first top-flight player to reach that tally since 1931.

“Not even Winston Churchill was Prime Minister [when someone last scored 50], and the record today Erling broke,” said Guardiola. “He took the penalty with the mentality that he has: strong.”

Guardiola also praised Argentine match-winner Alvarez, but called on Jack Grealish to keep his cool better when he feels he has been fouled by an opponent or not sufficiently protected by referees from robust challenges.

“When he plays, he gives us everything,” the manager said about Alvarez. “We need to be humble enough to think that every game will be quite similar.”

Asked about Grealish’s temper, Guardiola said: “It’s his game. He keeps the ball — he’s a fighter. It’s not just goals and assists. The number of things they [the wide players] do well for us [is amazing]. With the opponents, he has to be a little more calm.

“The grass was so dry for both teams,” Guardiola lamented. “It was difficult to get rhythm, but we found our momentum eventually. My only concern now is how we recover. We head back to Manchester, and on Wednesday at eight, it’s West Ham. My mindset is [on] how we recover. We have six games left — not a lot.”