Erling Haaland’s confidence and drive have been emphasized by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola as he made his Premier League debut with a brace against West Ham.
The champions opened the new campaign with a 2-0 victory at the London Stadium thanks to goals from Haaland in either half.
It happened a week after the 22-year-old received harsh criticism for his performance in Liverpool’s Community Shield loss.
Guardiola, however, now asserts that Haaland was so eager to succeed in the league that he might have punched a teammate if they had attempted to steal the ball from the Norway striker before he successfully converted the penalty kick that he earned after being brought down by the opponent’s goalkeeper, Alphonse Areola, in the 35th minute.
“I know how he handled a lot of criticism this week, he was really calm and trained really well. But the way he took the ball to take the penalty, I liked it.
“He’s direct and if someone is going to take his ball he will punch the faces of one of his mates. I’m pretty sure of that.
“It’s about confidence, ambition and mentality. That showed me. I liked it. And then of course he scored it,” Guardiola said.