‘We don’t have to be a genius’ – Man City boss Guardiola backs Haaland to break PL goalscoring record

Will Sewell
Pep Guardiola talks about Erling Haaland

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has backed forward Erling Haaland to break the record for goals scored in a single Premier League season.

The summer signing has hit the ground running this year and – after bagging a brace in City’s 3-1 win against Brighton at the weekend – Haaland’s tally for the season now stands at 17 goals after just eleven games.

After a start like this for the Norwegian, it’s hard to question his manager’s confidence.

The current record for goals scored in a Premier League season stands at 34 – an accolade shared between Alan Shearer and Andy Cole. With Haaland scoring at an average of 1.54 goals a game, that figure really doesn’t seem too far away.

Speaking after the weekend’s win, Guardiola had this to say:

“We don’t have to be a genius, if he continues in this rhythm, with the average every game, he’s going to break the record, definitely. But in football, maybe you score and in a few days stop to score. I don’t know.

“I didn’t speak with him, I think he’s happy when the team wins and when they not lose. All strikers I have seen in my career, Samuel Eto’o, Messi, Robert Lewandowski, Thomas Muller, Sergio Aguero, they all have incredible ambition to score goals. It’s normal. He has to be like that.”

Last term, Mo Salah and Son Hueng-Min required 22 goals to secure the Premier League golden boot.

With Haaland set to smash that total, and a winter break on the horizon at a time when many of his Premier League counterparts will be toiling away in the desert heat at the World Cup in Qatar, who knows how far this 21-year-old can go this year.

Next stop for City is a trip to Dortmund on Wednesday night where Haaland will face his former club in the Champions League group stages.

City have already secured their place in the knock-out stages of the Champions League, but they head to Germany with the hope of topping Group G.

It was, if course, Haaland who scored City’s winner in the reverse fixture earlier this season and, despite his obvious Premier League success, it could be argued that his performances in Europe will be the true measure of his value to City.

He has five goals in three games in this year’s competition, but the real test will come in the latter stages. If he can maintain this goalscoring form to successfully help the Manchester club break their Champions League duck, then his debut season at the club could be heralded as one of the greatest of all time.

Read more: Erling Haaland: The ridiculous stats after his half-decent start to Premier League life