EPL

'It comes from his mum and dad' – Guardiola labels Haaland a born goalscorer after Manchester derby treble

By Sports Desk October 02, 2022

Pep Guardiola described Erling Haaland as a born goalscorer after he claimed another hat-trick in Manchester City's derby rout of Manchester United, declaring: "what he is doing, I didn't teach him".

Haaland continued his fine start to life in England by playing a central role in City's 6-3 win over United, clinching a treble and adding two assists for fellow hat-trick hero Phil Foden.

The Norwegian – who has already hit 17 goals in all competitions this season – became the first player in Premier League history to score hat-tricks in three successive home games on Sunday.

His tally of five goal contributions at the Etihad Stadium, meanwhile, is the most recorded by a player in a single Premier League Manchester Derby.

Guardiola refused to take credit for the striker's form after the win, saying: "I said it many times and I will say again – what Erling is doing, he did in Norway, Austria and Germany.

"The quality we have alongside him helps him score, but what he is doing, I didn't teach him.

"He has incredible instincts. It comes from his mum and dad. He was born with that."

As well as laying on two goals for Foden, Haaland created a game-high four chances on Sunday, and Guardiola was delighted by the quality of his link-up play.

"I have had incredible centre-forwards in my career," Guardiola continued. "What I liked was in the last period of the game, he was involved. I want him to be involved.

"He became a player to score goals, but I want him in contact with the ball. I like him being part of those situations.

"But of course, he has to put the ball in the net, and he is a fantastic striker." 

Haaland has started all 11 of City's competitive games this term, and Guardiola plans to offer him the opportunity to rest at some point. 

"He will take a break. There will be games he is not going to play," he said.

"We are lucky, last season he could not play many games in a row – here we have incredible physios and thanks to them, he can play every 90 minutes.

"They are so important – with their hands, they allow players to play."

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  • 'We are here on our own' – Martinez says rift reports were 'great own goal' for Belgium 'We are here on our own' – Martinez says rift reports were 'great own goal' for Belgium

    Roberto Martinez has blasted the Belgian media for coverage of a "genius" French-based report detailing supposed unrest in the Belgium camp ahead of a huge World Cup match against Croatia.

    Belgium lost 2-0 to Morocco in their second Group F game and must now defeat the 2018 finalists to be sure of advancing to the knockout stage.

    The Red Devils' preparation for that fixture has been hampered this week by discussion of a rift within the team, first reported by RTL and L'Equipe.

    Belgium's players subsequently came together for a meeting – "it wasn't a crisis meeting, as we might have heard from some quarters," insisted Timothy Castagne – as they aim to "show more solidarity" against Croatia.

    Castagne added the reports had "exaggerated a lot" and he had "seen worse", before Martinez, appearing after the defender at a pre-match news conference, suggested his team now knew they were in Qatar "on our own".

    "For us, nothing changes. The standards come from within," the coach said.

    "We were not happy with our two performances. We got the result in the first game, but we were not happy with our performance.

    "The second game was the first time we lost a game by two goals in a major tournament. You can imagine we were not happy with it. We had to react.

    "Then you see the storm on the outside and realise maybe we were listening too much to the noise on the outside before the tournament.

    "You have some outlets in Belgium who are quite happy to jump on fake news. That's quite astonishing. It's made the group quite aware that the least you listen to the noise from outside the better.

    "It's the biggest sporting event in the world, and you can see there are many World Cups being played. Maybe a country like France did a very good job with a story that became the main talking point of some outlets.

    "There is more desire to find negative news around this team, rather than getting the nation together, supporting this team, enjoying the talent of the best generation we ever had in Belgian football.

    "Probably that was a lesson for all of us: we are here on our own. We are here to fight for what we believe. Hopefully the fans, the real fans of the Red Devils, can enjoy the process."

    Pressed on his suggestion the story had come out of France and been intended to hurt Belgium, Martinez replied: "I've got too many things to do in camp to think about where this story comes.

    "What is clear is whoever came up with it, whoever has done it has scored a great goal, an own goal for Belgium.

    "If I'm an opposition and I can weaken another side and get them out of the World Cup, I would do that as a journalist, I would love to win my own World Cup. Whoever's done it is genius."

    Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic said his side would not be "fooled" by the reports around the Belgium team, adding: "I don't have an opinion on them and what's happening there.

    "They are the second-best team in the world. That's all I care about. We are not focusing on any other aspects. We are focusing on Belgium, their quality.

    "They cannot forget overnight how to play football. They are a top-notch team. They're number two, and we're number 12."

  • Labuschagne leads the way as Australia open commanding lead Labuschagne leads the way as Australia open commanding lead

    Marnus Labuschagne struck an unbeaten 154 to help Australia reach 293-2 on day one of their first Test with West Indies on Wednesday.

    West Indies struggled to find answers at Optus Stadium in Perth, taking only the wickets of openers David Warner (5) and Usman Khawaja (65).

    Australia, who have lost just one of their past eight Test series, were in trouble early on as Warner's lean streak in the longest format continued when he chopped on from Jayden Seales' wide delivery.

    The home side were 9-1 when Labuschagne arrived at the crease, but he and Khawaja set about advancing their side to 72-1 by lunch and then kicked on.

    Kyle Mayers gave West Indies a much-needed breakthrough when delivering a perfect ball that caught the edge of Khawaja's bat and was gathered by Joshua Da Silva.

    The Khawaja-Labuschagne partnership may have ended at 142 runs, but the latter was not finished there as he struck 16 fours and a six en route to another huge score.

    Steve Smith also chipped in with an unbeaten 59 while producing a 142-run stand of his own with Labuschagne, which they will look to build on when play resumes on Thursday.


    Magical Marnus

    Australia are undefeated in their past 11 Test series against West Indies, winning 10 of those and each of the past eight, and they already look great value to extend that streak.

    Labuschagne was undoubtedly the star of the day with his eighth Test ton and he will now look to build on his unbeaten 154, which is the fourth-highest tally of his career.

    Weak Warner

    West Indies have won their past two Test series and they started well in Perth when sending Warner packing in the fourth over.

    That was the Australia opener's fourth successive single figure dismissal in a home Test innings, and he will be grateful that Labuschagne in particular was able to bail him out.

  • Rumour Has It: Real Madrid identify Benfica's Enzo Fernandez as new top target Rumour Has It: Real Madrid identify Benfica's Enzo Fernandez as new top target

    Real Madrid have reportedly pivoted away from Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham and are now treating Benfica's Enzo Fernandez as their top transfer target.

    Bellingham, 19, was considered the top priority for the Spanish giants, but a report from Marca claims they now believe he is destined for the Premier League and will instead focus their resources on 21-year-old Fernandez.

    Fernandez arrived at Benfica in June after they were able to pry him away from River Plate for a deal worth up to €18million including add-ons, but his exploits on the Champions League stage – including assists against Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus – have that price looking like a steal.

     

    TOP STORY – REAL MADRID SET THEIR SIGHTS ON ARGENTINA'S NEW STAR

    Fernandez was handed his international debut as a 20-year-old back in November 2021, and his continued growth on the European stage earned his spot in Argentina's World Cup squad.

    Not content to purely come along for the ride, Fernandez was brought on as a substitute in each of his side's first two group games, and against Mexico he became Argentina's youngest goalscorer at a World Cup since Lionel Messi in 2006.

    His ability to both break into and perform for such a quality international side – entering the tournament on a 35-match unbeaten streak before falling to Saudi Arabia – has reportedly sent Fernandez's transfer value through the roof.

    Marca's report claims he is now viewed as a €100m talent by Benfica, and they expect to field offers in that neighbourhood soon.

     

    ROUND-UP

    – According to Relevo, Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag views the Netherlands' World Cup hero Cody Gakpo as his ideal replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.

    – Fichajes is reporting Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are all showing interest in 22-year-old Ajax midfielder Mohammed Kudus amid his excellent performances for Ghana.

    Bayern Munich remain interested in Tottenham's Harry Kane and are working on an offer between €80-100m, per Sky Sports Germany.

    – The Sun is reporting Chelsea are not happy with both Edouard Mendy and Kepa Arrizabalaga and will look to bring in a new first-choice goalkeeper.

    – With Rafael Leao likely leaving Milan at the end of the season, Gazzetta dello Sport claims they will try to fill the void with RB Salzburg's 22-year-old Swiss international Noah Okafor.

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