Man City Pep Guardiola laughs off Erling Haaland substitution

Haaland was replaced by Julian Alvarez just after the hour following his five goals.

Manchester City star Erling Haalad was truly in magical form when Man City thrashed RB Leipzig 7-0 in the Champions League.

Pep Guardiola joked that he took Erling Haaland off one goal short of a double hat-trick. The Norway international scored five goals against the German club to become the third player after Lionel Messi and Luiz Adriano to do so.

Haaland completed his hat-trick in first-half stoppage time. But Haaland was replaced by Julian Alvarez just after the hour, and afterwards said: “I told him (Pep) when I went off, I’d love to score a double hat-trick – but what can I do!”

Asked why he made the switch, Guardiola said: “If he achieved this milestone at 22, 23 years old, it will be boring, his life. Now he has a target, that’s why I make the substitution.

“I didn’t know this about Messi against Leverkusen but normally when the game is over I want to let all the players play as much as possible.”

Haaland reached 39 goals for the season and break Tommy Johnson’s club record for a single season.

“Today he scored five goals and I think he had 30-35 touches and this is what we are looking for,” Guardiola said.

“When you are involved in the game, when the time comes to score a goal you are more precise. It’s difficult to score when you do not touch the ball for 40 minutes.

“Sometimes it’s his fault. Sometimes he doesn’t move – against Crystal Palace I said to him, ‘You didn’t play good today’ – but other times it’s our fault. Away to Leipzig we didn’t find him in the second half. But we are working to make the process quicker.”

City are now into the quarter-final draw for a sixth consecutive season.

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