Erling Haaland has called the penalty against Fulham “one of the most nervous moments” of his life.


Erling Haaland’s astonishing goal-scoring feats this season have led to the belief that he is not really human, but even he felt the pressure of having to convert an injury-time penalty to give Manchester City victory over Fulham.

The 22-year-old Norwegian, who almost beat Bernd Leno with a 95th-minute strike to send his side top of the Premier League and spark wild celebrations at the Etihad Stadium, later admitted to Sky Sports: “I was nervous… it was one of the most nervous moments of my life.

“A penalty in the last minute? Of course I would be nervous,” he added to BBC Sport. “But it was about overcoming the situation in the right way and I did that. It was a fantastic feeling to score.

“I love it. I’ve been injured for a week and it was very important for us to win.”

Haaland, who started on the bench after missing City’s last two games with a foot problem, saw an earlier header disallowed by VAR for offside and four other goals saw the ball, goal or shot blocked.

He was not to be denied, though, and after conceding City’s second penalty, he has now scored 18 Premier League goals in his first 12 games – and 17 in 23 competitions – this season.

Most of his finishes in that impressive scoring run were far more emphatic than this last shot, which dived over Leno and appeared without holding hands, but Haaland’s only concern was that. net, like all the rest.

“I don’t care how it went in, it’s about going in. It was an amazing feeling,” Haaland said.

“For me, it was about going in with some energy and trying to score, because these three points are very important. It was about trying to get them and that’s what we did.”

75-30? ‘Math, I’m not a genius!’

Guardiola said he understood why Haaland was nervous about his penalty, although the maths still failed him when he tried to explain why it went in.

“A lot of time passed before the ball went down and the penalty was awarded,” explained Guardiola. “It means you can think a lot.

“Erling has also had two or three weeks without training, you can lose your rhythm and your time.

So the penalty wasn’t the best penalty I’ve seen in my life but I’d say it hit hard.

“When you play soft on one side, it’s 50-50 [whether it will be saved or not]. If it’s strong it’s 75-30 – ah, sorry 75-15. Math, I’m not a genius!

“Leno, I know him from Germany and he saves a lot of penalties. But in the end, it was a good end. It seems that everything was against us today but in the end we could win.”

“These moments give meaning to our work”

Haaland had a long wait before receiving the penalty

Guardiola joined the celebrations in the final leg, hugging Haaland and joining his players on the lap of honour.

He described the victory as a very significant one after watching his side play for more than an hour, with 10 men following Joao Cancelo’s red card as he conceded a penalty for Fulham’s equaliser.

“We played at the right tempo 10 versus 11,” Guardiola said. “You can’t attack that fast because they’re going to attack faster.

“All the players in the middle were amazing: Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri and especially Kevin de Bruyne.

“I’ve said many times recently that Kevin is still not at his best but in the games against Leicester and now here, it was the complete opposite.

“Everyone was exceptional. Playing the way we did against Fulham for 65 minutes was the highlight of my time here in Manchester, then scoring at the end and celebrating with our people.

“We didn’t win the Premier League today, of course, but these moments give meaning to our work, all of us, to see the faces of the people when we walked off the pitch afterwards.”

How to follow Manchester City on the BBC bannerManchester City banner footer