Erling Haaland’s ‘special occasion’ deserved guard of honour

Haaland scored his 35th goal of the 2022/23 Premier League campaign, helping Manchester City to the top of the standings. In doing so, he also overtook Alan Shearer and Andrew Cole and smashed the all-time Premier League Golden Boot record of 34 goals in a 42-game season.

There are still five more games left in the campaign and the 22-year-old is showing no signs of stopping. Haaland downplayed his 35th goal in the Premier League after received a guard of honour from his teammates. He stated it was ‘painful’ to be hit on his back by his teammates, acts not in Pep Guardiola’s mind when he asked to mark the occasion.

Haaland can break his own record

The Catalan manager boasted on his behalf and called it a ‘special occasion’. However, he signalled to his prolific attacker that his record will be broken in time as well. Given the Norwegian’s proficiency, he might break it himself in the coming years.

“When there is a special occasion, we have to show how special it is,” said Guardiola.

“He is a joy,” Guardiola added. “Everyone is happy to have him with us. This record will be broken sooner or later, maybe by him in the future, because he will score a lot of goals. But Andy Cole and Alan Shearer are incredible strikers and I think he deserved it.”

Haaland reached the milestone is style, chipping Lukasz Fabianski to double City’s lead after Nathan Ake had opened the scoring. The 22-year-old did not have an audacious goal in his mind and made the most of the opportunity that presented itself.

Not to bathe in glory, the recruit from Borussia Dortmund remains grounded. Man City can immortalize themself with a treble and are favourites in doing so. They are aware of the possibility but are only thinking about their next match as it can all spiral out of their control.

“It was the perfect bounce as I chip the ball,” Haaland shared. “I didn’t think of it, but then it was there so I did.”

“Everyone knows it’s possible, but we cannot think about Manchester United in the FA Cup final now,” the Norwegian remarked.

Dominating Haaland likes West Ham

Haaland’s return on investment has been incredible, especially given his inauspicious start. His debut in City colours did not go according to the plan, returning to the Etihad after surrendering the Community Sheild.

Glimpses of what could be expected were seen on the Premier League opening weekend, where he sent two past West Ham to open his account. Haaland has not looked back since and Guardiola knows why.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager believes there is clarity in Haaland’s approach and the supporting cast are well versed in his movements on the pitch. This makes the 22-year-old an ever-present threat and can score from a variety of positions.

“He understands what we want to do,” Guardiola said. “The players understand his movement. With those first two goals against West Ham, immediately we saw he is a guy who, when you provide him with the ball, he scores in all situations, from crosses, penalties, combinations, transitions.”

“I remember when we lost against Liverpool in the Community Shield, people said he will not adapt in the Premier League,” said Guardiola. “As journalists, you encourage incredible comments.”

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