It wasn’t easy as Manchester City defeated Crystal Palace 4-2 on Saturday, as Pep Guardiola’s side went in 2-0 down at half time, before Erling Haaland produced a second half hat-trick.
The coach was delighted with the striker’s ability to score goals and explained that this is why he was signed.
“We definitely [signed him] for this type of game,” Guardiola said after the win.
“He did what he has done all his life, in Salzburg and everywhere he has been he has scored goals.
“Against these type of teams, we struggle because they defend so deep, but he has an incredible sense of goal. He is always involved.
“It is important for him to get goals. He has the sense to score goals.
“The third one, to have the quality to be strong then put the ball in the net.
“The space depends on the movement of the opponents. You have to be patient and have more runners. It gives him more space.
“The numbers for this guy are beyond belief. The most important thing is that he has settled perfectly and he is an incredibly humble guy.
“I saw his body language at 2-0 down and how he encouraged his teammates.
“He is a lovely person. He chats with the guys from the academy and that means a lot. Hopefully, he can be happy.”
Haaland discusses his first Premier League hat-trick :
The striker also spoke after the game, explaining his delight at scoring three times and taking the ball home with him.
“It was an amazing feeling to score a hat-trick, a proud moment for me and my family,” he said.
“These games are why I’m here, to turn things around when there is a difficult time.
“In the end, we scored four goals, which is a really good thing, but when we play at home we shouldn’t concede early goals.”
Manchester City have struggled against Crystal Palace before and it seemed they might be about to drop more points against the side from London, but a brilliant second half performance saw the Premier League champions fight back to win 4-2 on Saturday afternoon.
The home side went in 2-0 down at half time, having conceded two goals at set pieces.
The first was a John Stones own goal as he turned a freekick into his own net in the fourth minute, before Joachim Andersen headed in at a corner in the 21st minute.
Manchester City finished the first half without a shot on target, but significantly improved after the break. It took just a few minutes for Bernardo Silva to pull one back, although he was slightly lucky as a deflection took it past Vicente Guaita.
Then, it was Erling Haaland’s time to shine. The Norwegian first scored an equaliser, heading in a chipped cross from Phil Foden just past the hour mark to make it 2-2.
From there, Manchester City produced attack after attack and a well-worked corner routine finished with Haaland firing in at the far post.
Then, with the lead already secured, Haaland wrapped up his first – and surely not last – hat-trick for the club, shrugging off Joel Ward and finishing well for the 4-2 final scoreline.
Pep Guardiola was pretty happy with Haaland too :
Asked if Haaland was brought in the summer for this type of game, here was what Man City boss Pep Guardiola had to say.
“Definitely for this type of game,” Guardiola said. “We have not done anything special for him that he didn’t do before. It is important for him to get goals. He has the sense to score goals. The third one, to have the quality to be strong then put the ball in the net. The space depends on the movement of the opponents. You have to be patient and have more runners. It gives him more space.”
Guardiola embraced Haaland with a huge hug and some of those strange body slaps when he took the striker off the pitch late on to a standing ovation at the Etihad.
Haaland is a lifelong Man City fans and revealed scoring a hat trick, and his first home goals, was a very special moment for him.
This hat trick is the first of many in a Man City shirt for Erling Haaland. We all know it and, most importantly, so does he.