• Haaland sympathises with Fulham, acknowledging that City's second goal was offside, showing a refreshing level of sportsmanship.
  • Despite their strong start, Haaland believes there is a higher level for City to reach, and they are working towards that goal.
  • Even without Guardiola present due to injury, Haaland states that the team's principles and goals remain the same, and they continue to communicate with him remotely.

Erling Haaland was the star of the show, again, for Manchester City this weekend, scoring a hat-trick at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon as the champions kept their 100% record in the Premier League alive, brushing aside Fulham in a 5-1 demolition job.

Considering that the scoreline was so vast between the two sides, it would have been very easy for Haaland to steer clear of the controversy over City's second of the match, where Bernd Leno's judgment of Nathan Ake's powerful header was affected by Manuel Akanji's presence from an offside position, which was adjudged to have not been offside by the VAR officials.

However, Haaland did everything but steer away from the controversy when asked about the situation in his post-match interview, refreshingly agreeing with the aggrieved opposition, saying: "Yeah, I think it was offside as well; I feel bad for them [Fulham], I would be fuming after this as well; it's how it is; must be a horrible feeling for them."

Video: Erling Haaland's interview after Fulham game

Despite winning emphatically on the day, the opening 30 minutes of the match were quite cagey, with City finding it difficult to make many inroads beyond Fulham's resolute defence, though, ultimately it was the quality that set the two sides apart by the time the final whistle sounded.

Scarily for the rest of the division, Haaland continued in his post-match interview by telling us that he believed that although they have started the campaign perfectly, there is a "much higher level" for the Sky Blues to reach between now and the end of the season, explaining: "Last year was also difficult to start, but we have been picking up more points for now, and in the end, it has been a perfect start because we win four games, but we have a much higher level, and it is about working towards that."

Similar to the previous match against Sheffield United, there was a noticeable absence of a usually animated Pep Guardiola on the Manchester City touchline against Fulham, as the Catalonian manager is currently recovering from a recent back operation and is unable to actively carry out his duties, with assistant coach Juan Manuel Lillo stepping in his place in the meantime.

In spite of that, Guardiola's side have been impressive in their mentality since the operation, scooping up all six points available and figuring out the test that Fulham presented in thunderous fashion.

When asked about the difficulties of not having Guardiola around on a day-to-day basis on the training ground and on match days, Haaland exuded the mentality of a champion in his response, replying: "Of course it's a bit different to not have your main boss there, but the principle is the same, and we are working towards the same thing with or without him; we can still have phone calls with him, you can still have him on Zoom, and everything, so of course it is a bit different, but we still know what to do."