Premier League English

Pep Guardiola says Lionel Messi is still a class above Erling Haaland as the diminutive star ‘has the ability to do it all himself’    `

Former Barcelona serial award-winning manager Pep Guardiola says his latest charge Erling Haaland is not on the same level as Lionel Messi because the former is reliant on his team-mates to help him score goals.

The Norwegian striker scored a hat-trick during City’s 6-3 win over United in the Manchester derby on Sunday afternoon and Guardiola praised Haaland’s goal-scoring abilities but said Messi was still in a class above him given his innate ‘ability’ to do it all himself.

Guardiola spoke unreservedly about the difference between Haaland and Messi when he was asked if Messi’s enormous success at Barcelona could be replicated by the Norwegian striker by scoring every time he plays.

Speaking after City’s triumph over United, Guardiola said: ‘The difference is, maybe that Erling needs all his mates to do it. It is unbelievable. [But] Messi had the ability himself to do it.’

Fans took to social media to weigh in on Guardiola’s comments, with some criticising the manager for playing down Haaland’s talent, while other heaped praise on Messi.

One supporter wrote: ‘That is truth be told. Messi does not need to be fed, while others player need to be fed.’

Another chipped in: ‘If Messi played in Premier League in his prime they would go absolutely nuts.’

Meanwhile, one fan wrote: ‘It’s true that Messi scored some great individual goals but he had teammates like Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets and Yaya Toure for most of his goals.’

Another quipped: ‘Not that totally true about Messi. Why didn’t he do it all alone after the likes of Xavi, Iniesta, Neymar all left. He couldn’t even deliver the UCL to the camp Nou side since 2015 after the likes of Neymar, Iniesta & Xavi left. Capping by Pep.’

Guardiola’s comments came on the heels of Haaland scoring a hat-trick against United in the Manchester derby on Sunday.

The Norwegian lad found the back of the net twice in the first half to help City advance 4-0 up heading into the break. He wrapped up his hat-trick with a close-range finish 64 minutes in to take his tally for the season to 17 and break a number of records in the process.

As a result, Haaland has now scored three consecutive home hat-tricks, the first player to do so in the Premier League.

The 22-year-old is also the first City player to score a hat-trick against United since Francis Lee in December 1970 and the third overall after Horance Barnes in 1921.