Erling Haaland knew 'something special' would happen in Manchester derby

Norwegian striker scores third successive home hat-trick and assisted two more goals in City's 6-3 demolition of United

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Erling Haaland said he had a feeling "something special" would happen in Sunday's derby, and he was proved right after his hat-trick helped Manchester City thrash rivals Manchester United 6-3 at the Etihad.

Haaland, 22, has enjoyed a remarkable start to his City career and his treble against United took the Norwegian striker to 17 goals in all competitions from just 10 competitive matches. In the Premier League, he leads the top-scorer charts on 14, double that of second-placed Harry Kane.

Haaland's hat-trick also meant he became the first player in Premier League history to score three successive trebles at home. He also set up two of City's other three goals, all scored by Phil Foden, meaning he achieved the most goal involvements by a player in a single Premier League Manchester derby.

"Yeah, not bad. We scored six goals, what can you say? It’s amazing, to win at home and score six goals," Haaland told the Manchester City website.

"I felt it a little bit before the game that something special is going to happen and we saw today that some special things happened. On Friday I felt it in the whole training ground. It's these games I want to play in. These are the best games where there's a bit extra."

There were initial suggestions that Haaland might take some time to adapt to manager Pep Guardiola's exacting methods as City adjusted to operating with a focal centre-forward for the first time since Sergio Aguero's departure in 2021.

Those doubts have been emphatically answered, with Haaland slotting seamlessly into the team while providing effective link-up play beyond his prolific goalscoring contributions, and the former Borussia Dortmund striker believes Guardiola's playing style has allowed him to adjust quickly.

"You can feel it all the time, you see the passes we give each other, we always want to go forward and we always want to attack," he said. "This is what I love about this team. In the end it’s amazing."

Manchester derby player ratings

Haaland's start at City has caught the attention of the football world but Guardiola is not at all surprised by the striker's impact.

I say it many times and I will say again - what Erling is doing he did in Norway, Austria and Germany,” he said. “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.

“What I like 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.”

Updated: October 03, 2022, 6:04 AM
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