Erling Haaland said missing out on the World Cup was an “irritation and motivation” that drove him “a bit mad” after becoming the first player to score 20 Premier League goals before January by netting twice in Manchester City‘s 3-1 win against Leeds at Elland Road.
The summer signing from Borussia Dortmund, who failed to qualify for Qatar 2022 with Norway, has scored three goals in two games for City since club football resumed following the six-week World Cup shutdown.
By scoring his 20th Premier League goal in only his 14th league appearance for City, Haaland has become the fastest player to hit the 20-goal mark in Premier League history.
And after the win against Leeds — the city of his birth — Haaland said that having to watch the World Cup from home has motivated him to perform even better for City.
“I’ve been at home, a bit mad that I’ve not been at the World Cup,” Haaland said. “I recharged my batteries.
“Watching other people score to win games at the World Cup triggered, motivated and irritated me. I’m more hungry and more ready than ever.
“To be honest, I get really p—-d [when I miss a chance],” Haaland said. “That’s the truth. But when I miss, I want to score even more. That’s the funny thing — when I score one, it’s such a good feeling I want to score another goal, so it’s positive.”
No player has ever scored 40 goals in a Premier League season — Alan Shearer and Andy Cole jointly hold the record with 34 goals in a season — but Haaland is now on course to break that barrier. He added that he has a goal target for the season, but insisted he will keep it private until he reaches it.
“I have a target but I cannot say it,” Haaland said. “I just said inside the dressing room that I could have scored five, but the most important thing is that we won.
“For me, as a striker, I have to score more. I could have scored a couple more, but that’s life and I have to train more.”
Haaland refused to celebrate each time he scored at Elland Road. The 22-year-old was born in Leeds when his father, Alfie, played for the team and Erling said that the club holds a special place in his affections.
“My father and mother were on the tribune today,” Haaland said. “It’s special. I’m happy — it’s a special moment in my career.
“When I was young, I had an Eirik Bakke shirt in my room and a jersey of my father. In my craziest fantasy, I couldn’t think of being at Elland Road and scoring for Manchester City against Leeds.”