Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola took aim at those who criticised Erling Haaland after the Norwegian star made a sparkling debut for the team on Sunday.
Haaland netted both goals in City’s 2-0 victory over West Ham United. The performance garnered rave reviews, with Guardiola hitting out at those who questioned the signing following last weekend’s Community Shield loss to Liverpool.
“I know how he handled a lot of criticism this week, he was really calm and trained really well,” said Guardiola. “But the way he took the ball to take the penalty, I liked it. He’s direct and if someone is going to take his ball he will punch in the faces of one of his mates. I’m pretty sure of that.
“One week ago he could not adapt in the Premier League. Now he’s alongside the best in Thierry Henry, Alan Shearer and Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Guardiola is hoping Sunday’s performance is just a sign of what’s to come from Haaland.
He’s here for five years,” said Guardiola. “Hopefully he’ll stay for this time and even more. We want all the new guys to be happy, feel good in the city and with the team. And push him a little bit more.
“He’s a guy with incredible talent, scores nice numbers but we would like to add something more to his game to be a better player. Not just a guy who scores goals, which is so important, but that’s why we want to try give everything to him to be a better player.”