Erling Haaland has same 'mentality' as Lionel Messi but comparisons to Barcelona legend 'won't help' Man City star, says Pep Guardiola
- Haaland set to break PL record
- Guardiola says Haaland has the same mentality as Messi
- Hails Messi as the most complete player
WHAT HAPPENED? The Norwegian striker reached 50 goals in all competitions for the season when he converted a third-minute penalty in City's 2-1 win over Fulham over the weekend. That was also his 34th goal in the league, which put him alongside Alan Shearer and Andy Cole for the most Premier League goals in a single season. Courtesy of his heroics in England, Haaland is already being compared to Messi but Guardiola insists that the Paris Saint-Germain superstar is beyond comparison.
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WHAT THEY SAID: "No one can compare with Messi, it will not help Erling, but in terms of goals and mentality, yeah," stated Guardiola, who managed Messi for four years at Barcelona. "Messi has done it every season in the last 10 or 15 seasons, but Erling has got to the same level in terms of goals.
"It's almost every game, he scores a goal. One or two every game, he had the chances to do it but Messi is the most complete player I have seen in terms of vision, dribbles, passes, competitiveness, in many things that are difficult. Hopefully Erling can be so close like [to] Leo, that will be great for us and him."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Guardiola went on to hail Haaland for his "confidence in himself" and insatiable hunger for success. The manager also believes that Haaland has not yet realised his full potential and has insisted that his game can still improve a lot.
"Always, I've said with Erling it will be tough when you look at what he has done and if he doesn't score the goals like he's scoring now people will say 'Oh, he's in a bad situation' but his game can improve a lot. "We have spoken about that," he added. "The movements, I wouldn't say in the box but the game itself. I think he has that feeling 'Is that enough?' I think he has the desire to get better as a player, as long as he has it he can do it. To go to work knowing you can do something better is the way.
"I know him a bit and he is so competitive and positive in his mindset. He has this incredible self-positive confidence in himself. It's not arrogance. It's self-confidence to say I am going to score. To arrive in his first season and score 50 already and he equalled the record for two legends in Andy Cole and Alan Shearer, so that's big."
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WHAT NEXT? If Haaland scores at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday against West Ham, he will set a new Premier League record for the most goals in a single season.