Erling Haaland said “my super-strength is scoring” after the centre-forward hit five goals to set a club single-season record of 39 as Manchester City defeated Leipzig 7-0 to move into the Champions League quarter-finals.
City beat the Bundesliga side 8-1 on aggregate and Haaland became only the third player to score five in the Champions League, following Luiz Adriano in 2014 and Lionel Messi in 2012, and the 10th since the European Cup’s inception.
Haaland now has 33 Champions League strikes in 25 appearances – the youngest player, at 22 years and 236 days, to reach 30. He eclipsed Tommy Johnson’s 38 City goals in 1928-29, his quintet coming across 35 minutes, while the victory, in which Ilkay Gündogan and Kevin De Bruyne also scored, equalled the club’s best in the competition.
“My super strength? After scoring five goals I have to say scoring goals,” Haaland said. “It’s a big night – five goals, to win 7-0 at home, I’m so happy – I’m a bit blurry in my head so I don’t remember the goals. I was so tired after the celebrations. In my opinion, we should do this more – [score] a lot of goals.
“I didn’t think – I was just trying to get the ball in the back of the net. A lot of it is being quick in the mind and trying to do the right thing. A little bit of it is quality but a lot is in the head.”
Haaland joked that he did not want to be replaced in the second half. “I told Pep when I went off that I would like to score a double hat-trick, but what can you do?”
Guardiola said: “It was a really good performance from minute one until the end from everyone. Erling was amazing but everyone was exceptional. It’s five in 60 minutes [before replaced] – if he was to do 90 minutes, I don’t know. He is an incredible guy with huge talent, power and mentality, he is a serial winner. Having a weapon like Erling in this competition is important.”
There was praise for De Bruyne, who the manager criticised before the match for overcomplicating his play. “Kevin is extraordinary,” Guardiola said. “The rhythm he played today, his movement – is the Kevin we know and we haven’t seen that so much this season [like this] he is unstoppable.”
Guardiola, who is yet to secure the Champions League title for City, cited the Hollywood star Julia Roberts as a reason why he may always be judged a failure even if he does win the trophy.
“She is a hero of mine but even if we win three Champions Leagues in a row I will be judged a failure. I tell you why: five years ago when we were better than Man United and she came to Manchester she went see United and not us,” he said.
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