Pep Guardiola denies Man City missed player like Erling Haaland in previous Champions League campaigns after Norwegian nets FIVE against RB Leipzig
- Haaland scored five, breaking countless records
- Guardiola labelled forward a "huge talent"
- But denied City missed his goals during past failures
WHAT HAPPENED? The big Norwegian broke a multitude of records as he scored five in the space of an hour as City romped Leipzig 7-0 on Tuesday night to cruise through to the Champions League quarter-finals. While Guardiola lauded Haaland a "huge talent", he refused to attribute a lack of goals to City's failures in previous campaigns, instead highlight his side's former defensive frailties.
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WHAT THEY SAID: "It was a really good performance from minute one until the end from everyone," the Spaniard told BT Sport after the match. "We played very good with and without the ball. We scored a lot of goals. Erling [Haaland] was amazing but everyone was exceptional. Five in 60 minutes. Incredible guy, huge talent. Power, mentality, he's a serial winner."
But when asked whether City had missed those goals in previous seasons, Guardiola responded: "I don't think so. The reason why [is that] we concede a lot of goals [against] the opponent. We scored four goals here against Real Madrid, six against Monaco, four against Tottenham. A lot of the time we were out because we conceded a lot. Right now these guys they defend really well. We had with Sergio before, this instinct to score goals."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Despite it being such an early stage of the knockouts, such a dominant display by Guardiola's men has opened the debate over whether they can win the first Champions League in the club's history. There is no doubt City will come up against sterner tests, however, with previous downfalls coming in the tournament's latter stages. It remains to be seen whether they - and Guardiola - can hold their tactical nerve, with or without the aid of Haaland.
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WHAT NEXT FOR CITY? Shortly after they find out their quarter-final opponents, Guardiola's side host Burnley in the FA Cup, coming up against former pupil Vincent Kompany in Saturday's last-eight fixture.