Pep Guardiola has sent a chilling message to the Premier League that he believes Erling Haaland will help Man City score even more next season.
Kevin De Bruyne scored four goals as City overwhelmed Wolves 5-1 at Molineux to take a three-point lead at the top of the Premier League table and move within four points of the title.
The brilliant Belgian has now scored eight goals in his last eight Premier League games, with his influence in the final third proving to be one of the main reasons for City’s relentless push for the title.
Guardiola said: “What can I say? The second game in the league, he was more than perfect.
“He’s a guy who’s always so generous, who always has the sense of making the assist. But I think this season he’s also had the sense of being prolific in scoring goals. He scored against Chelsea , he scored against Madrid, and he was decisive in scoring goals, and in the end that’s what does the most good.
“I’m very happy for him because, of course, scoring four goals in the league tie is so important.”
De Bruyne is now City’s top scorer in the Premier League with 15 goals to his name, taking him to a personal best in a single season. Big game goals have also come with De Bruyne on target in both matches for Liverpool and in the 1-0 win over Chelsea in January.
Guardiola is delighted to see the Belgian enjoying the feeling of scoring more goals, saying: “We’ve talked. Not now, but over the years. You have to get in the box, you have to be close to the box, you have to This season has been the year he has done better and better, I hope he can continue not just this year but the rest of his career.
“I have a feeling that now he has started to like scoring goals. Before it was just assists. Now I think he has a feeling that he likes it when his teammates come and hug him. after he scores a goal.”
City became the first team in English top-flight history to win five consecutive league games by a margin of at least three goals, achieving the feat amid the pressured environment of a title chase.
This has led them to win their last five Premier League games by an aggregate score of 22-1, as they are the top scorers not only in the Premier League, but also in the big five European leagues (Spain, Italy, France, Germany and England). .
However, they do not stand still. City have announced that they have reached an agreement with Borussia Dortmund to sign Haaland on Tuesday. The Premier League champions will pay the striker’s £51.1m release clause and he will arrive at the Etihad on July 1, subject to the terms being finalised.
The news was met with excitement within City’s fan base with Norwegian flags spotted away at Wolves – and after scoring his third goal of the night, De Bruyne himself celebrated the meditation with his arms – something Haaland made his own at Borussia Dortmund.
Adding a player of such finishing ability will only help City add new goals to their already large tally, according to Guardiola, who was speaking for the first time since City announced the deal.
“Certainly he can help us score more. It’s not about that. At the end of the day, it’s about winning games.
He added: “I never thought our defensive situation depended on the centre-back and I never thought the goals we scored depended on the striker. He’s scored a lot of goals in his career and we’re going to try to help him through the game, having more chances to score goals.
“We are never going to give him the responsibility to score goals. We have to win games and if we want to win games we need everyone to do it in the best way, arriving as much as possible. Afterwards, of course, if we get there, with the quality we believe he has, we can do it.
“I answer because I have to and I’m a polite man but it’s next season. Now we have to work a lot this season. It’s not done. We still have work to do. We’ve seen yesterday how difficult Aston was. Villa will be and, of course, West Ham. So I still have work to do.”
“It was the De Bruyne show”
Adam Bate of Sky Sports at Molineux writes:
It was Kevin De Bruyne’s show. The expected goal tally for City’s seven shots in the first half at Molineux was just 0.52 – in other words, attempts from these positions would typically net a goal every two games. De Bruyne scored three in 24 minutes.
The first was measured in the corner, the second was a credit to his anticipation after some ingenuity to shape luck in the first place. The third showed the power of his boots, the ball flashing into the net to draw gasps from the crowd.
Three different goals but all with his supposedly weaker left foot. He added a fourth with his right. No one should be too surprised. De Bruyne continues to deliver. In a special City team, soon to be reinforced by Haaland, he is the special player.
Wolves are back in action at Molineux on Sunday when they host already relegated Norwich. They end their season with a trip to face Liverpool at Anfield.
Manchester City travel to West Ham on the same day, live on Sky Sports, with the chance to strengthen their grip on the title before finishing their campaign against Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium on the final day.