Pep Guardiola has challenged Erling Haaland to become a Manchester City legend after the Norway striker’s second successive hat-trick inspired a 6-0 rout of Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.
Haaland demolished Forest with a blistering 26-minute treble in the first half at the Etihad Stadium, just four days after he scored three against Crystal Palace.
The 22-year-old is the first player in the Premier League era to net nine times in his first five appearances in the competition, breaking a record shared by former City icon Sergio Aguero and Micky Quinn.
Haaland still has a long way to go to catch up with Aguero, City’s record scorer, but Guardiola is confident his close-season signing from Borussia Dortmund can write himself into the club’s folklore.
“Sergio is the legend. Nobody can break the position in the hearts of City fans, scoring the most important goal in the modern history,” Guardiola said.
“Erling has the quality to be there. It’s not about him or Sergio. What Sergio has done is amazing. But Erling has this talent.
“When City bought Erling, everybody talked about what he has done in the past. What we wanted to do is help him. Hopefully he can enjoy and score more goals.
“What he has done in Norway, Austria and Germany he tries to do here. He’s talented, we knew it.”
Haaland is already the firm favourite to finish as this season’s Premier League top scorer.
But Guardiola insists helping champions City retain the title would mean more to his striker than any personal accolades.
“I think what we want is win the titles. If the record and the goals help to win it will be perfect,” he said.
“Knowing him a little bit, I don’t know if he’d be happy breaking records if we didn’t win titles.
“I think he wants to be part of that. The better we play, he’ll have more chances to score goals.”