Gary Neville says Erling Haaland is “unplayable” after the Manchester City forward took his tally for the club to 17 in just 11 appearances – as the champions beat their opponents. Manchester United 6-3 in the Premier League ruthlessly.
Hat-tricks from Haaland and Phil Foden saw the Premier League champions, who had led 4-0 at the break, cruise to victory at Etihad Stadium on Sunday afternoon and make a price wither from Roy Keane in the Sky Sports studio.
Pep Guardiola hailed Haaland’s determination to “run like an animal” after he maintained a superb start at Manchester City with a brilliant treble in the derby.
The prolific Norwegian has scored his third hat-trick of the season – and Gary Neville believes the Premier League is seeing something special develop at the Etihad Stadium…
The unusual Haaland lies in another stratosphere
To begin with, you have to give credit to Manchester City, their football and their excellent players, their excellent manager and their strikers. Sometimes, you find everything right – physical attributes, technical attributes, attitudes. And then you get genuine world class.
Manchester United already have a player on the bench in Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been world-class for 10-15 years. But we are seeing the next generation of world-class players. That’s what we’ve seen here.
I know Phil Foden also scored a hat-trick, he’s a local guy and he should be incredibly proud. He is a brilliant English player but Erling Haaland is something completely different.
We’re on to something really special and I think we know it with the numbers he hit at the start of this season. He makes very difficult things look very easy.
He cannot play. That’s the takeaway from the game. Obviously, Manchester City have done well and we’ve seen some great players at this club with Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Sergio Aguero – many great players. But this player has the potential to be something that tops everything.
I didn’t expect him to be anything other than what he was when I met him midweek. He is confident but humble. He was relaxed. No problem with him… he was an hour late! But I would love to talk to him for half an hour.
City were playing well and were dominating but Haaland took the game with a stiff neck. We’ve seen City dominate for five, six, seven years, whatever it is. But then you combine that explosion with the property they have, and it’s different.
He has the ability to eliminate teams’ matches on his own. Good players have the ability to pull a game back when it was never likely to happen or in matches where the scoreline is 1-0 suddenly becomes 4-0.
I was not surprised to learn that he had the lowest number of touches on the City team as he was barely present for the game – and that has become the norm now. One thing I talked to him about the day before was that for a young player he has great patience.
We’ve seen young players over the years and normally they’re very keen to come in – it could be a goalkeeper or a striker. But Haaland plays as a 26 or 27 year old striker. A person who is always waiting and knows that if he runs into the right space, everything will come to him.
What’s amazing is his steadfastness, patience, and composure. There are no words to describe him anymore. Manchester City have been an excellent team, but with him in it, they are much more dangerous and exciting.
Man City’s fourth goal is what wakes you up and makes you realize you have a great team. It was emphasized. I love Gabriel Jesus as a player but Haaland is in another stratosphere.
When you think about Zinedine Zidane, the Brazilian Ronaldo, the Portuguese Ronaldo – the types of players I’ve met in my career when I feel they’re on another level – that’s what we’re seeing here. this.
Man Utd has been bottled and frozen but will recover
I don’t think if you’re analyzing Manchester United’s performance you should say, ‘why didn’t Casemiro start with McTominay?’ I don’t feel it was a mistake of Ten Hag at all.
I know that there has been an international break and that getting past the Queen is not helpful when the team is running well, but the players he put on that pitch were confident together.
It was the unwarranted errors, the nervousness on the ball and the lack of composure that stood out. I’m not talking about the defenders in the back being cornered but the midfielders and strikers: Rashford, Eriksen, Fernandes, McTominay.
They all gave away in the first half unnecessarily. It just brings out even more negative vibes throughout the team when your best players don’t handle the ball well. They forced it too soon.
What stood out for me was how badly the United players in midfield and up front handled the ball in the first half.
The teams I’ve seen here have faced a lot of defense during the game but they also have to prove they can penetrate City and hurt them to make the crowd nervous. United never did that in the first half.
I said United bottled up, they froze, they worried. Whatever word you want to use, performance really is. You have Foden and Grealish on either side of Haaland with De Bruyne and Bernardo delivering creativity ahead of Gundogan.
There’s a lot to ask about United’s four defenders but I hope they handle it better. Varane and De Gea have experience while Martinez has played a lot of big Champions League games against Ajax.
Grealish really dominated Dalot in the first minutes. Malacia never really got a handle on Foden. I wouldn’t blame the four defenders entirely – I’m more frustrated with the midfield. They did not appear.
There have been many times in the past with Manchester United where I have been really excited about such a defeat. I wonder where they’re going… I don’t feel that way today because the team they’re up against is very special.
A four-week break and two late goals contributed to that. Under Sir Alex Ferguson, there were odd times when we were beaten 3, 4 or 5-0 like at Newcastle, there were times when we scored consolation. And he would always come into the late game and say, ‘you’ve got a goal’.
It’s important to end up with something to get you into the next game. In fact, you have to show up next week. As a player at the time, I never cared how you lost. It’s whether we lose or not, but now I feel it’s still important.
The fact that Manchester United came back and scored three goals in the second half would have upset Pep a bit. He’ll feel like it’s 6-0 or 6-1. What’s important for United now is how they react over the next few weeks.
Is it a blip after being inactive and not playing for a while? There’s no excuse for some of the stuff we’ve seen there today, but I don’t think it’s like what we’ve seen in the past where it’s like a big rot. I hope they get better next week and I hope they recover and put the person to bed right away.
They responded in the second half and played with something unusual in Haaland and City. I think they can win this tournament with 15-20 points.
It seems like a ridiculous claim when they’re not even top of the league at this point – but I think they’re good.