Pep Guardiola hails Erling Haaland’s ‘born instinct’ for scoring goals



He pounced on a rebound for another in the second half after Phil Foden had doubled the lead.

He had already assured himself of the headlines – yet again – when he was substituted 20 minutes from time but Guardiola was keen to share the praise around.

De Bruyne was named the official player of the match after an influential display.

Guardiola said: “His quality was there for the first goal, in this action, and in the final third. He played a good game and I was happy for him and everyone.”

With defenders John Stones and Kyle Walker ruled out, joining Aymeric Laporte on the sidelines, Guardiola handed a debut to Manuel Akanji and a first start to Sergio Gomez.

Guardiola was particularly pleased with Akanji after the Switzerland centre-back only signed for the club last week.

“We are delighted,” said Guardiola, whose side wrapped up the win with an injury-time effort from Ruben Dias. “He was training just one-and-a-half days with us.

“He showed, like he has at Dortmund, experience in Europe and he’s a really good central defender. He played really well.

“He was always focused and has a quality quite similar to Ayme. He is able to break the lines with the pass and read really well where the spaces are.”

Jack Grealish and Foden also shone in wide attacking roles.

Guardiola said: “Jack arrived incredibly this season, in the pre-season and the first game. Unfortunately he had a little bit of an injury.

“It was important for him to have these 60 minutes. The pitch was uncomfortable, but he was so aggressive in the first half in terms of making the movements.

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“Phil lately has not played so good as normal for him, but he always does a job and always runs and fights.

“He is always stable for the team and I am pretty sure the goal and the assist are going to help him.”

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