Pep Guardiola said Erling Haaland has the talent to break the all-time record of Manchester City’s top scorer Sergio Aguero after a hat-trick in a 6-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.
Haaland became the first player to score nine goals in his first five Premier League games after scoring his second hat-trick in as many matches, beating Aguero’s record, which he shares with Mick Quinn, by scoring eight goals in his first five Premier League games.
The Norwegian hat-trick also constituted the first consecutive Premier League hat-trick since Harry Kane did so for Tottenham Hotspur in 2017, after he netted a hat-trick against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Haaland’s start to life at the Etihad has already started the debate over whether he will end up breaking City’s record of 260 goals in all competitions set by Aguero.
“Sergio is the legend,” Guardiola said. “No one can break the position in the hearts of City fans, as he scored the most important goal in modern history. Erling has the quality to be there.
“What Sergio has done is amazing. But Erling has this talent. When he bought City Erling, everyone talked about what he did in the past. What we wanted to do was help him. I hope he enjoys and scores more goals.”
However, Guardiola added that Haaland will only consider his time at Manchester City a success if he wins titles, even if he continues to break goalscoring records.
“What he did in Norway, Austria and Germany he is trying to do here,” Guardiola said. “The first contact with the ball, he scored a goal. We knew that.
“He always scores goals. He can be stopped when we are not playing well. We try to play in a decent way for the fact that we create opportunities for our talented players in attack to score goals.
“I think what we want is to win titles. Knowing him a bit, I don’t know if he would be happy to break records if we didn’t win titles. If we played well, he would have more chances.”
Apart from Haaland’s hat-trick, newcomer Julian Alvarez declared himself against Forrest by scoring his first two Premier League goals following his move from River Plate.
“Both of them settled in a way that I did not expect, especially Julian from Argentina,” Guardiola added. “You see how he does it. He struggled to set the pace in the first half. But the goals, when he’s close to goal, oh my gosh. So accurate. So good. Both goals are great.”
The three points against Forest City put Forest City in second place in the Premier League with 13 points from five games, two points behind leaders Arsenal, who are enjoying a perfect start to the 2022-23 season.