The Man City boss has likened the Norwegian striker to both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has compared Erling Haaland's performance to that of legendary footballers Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo after his stunning return to the pitch. The Norwegian striker scored twice in City's 4-1 win over Southampton on Saturday, taking his Premier League tally to 30 goals in 27 appearances.

Just before half-time, Haaland scored the first goal of the game as he stooped down to meet Kevin De Bruyne's cross, leading the way for Manchester City to dominate the match. In the second half, City picked up the pace and secured their eighth consecutive win across all competitions, putting them in contention for a potential treble of trophies, under the guidance of coach Guardiola.

Grealish subsequently got the first goal of the second half before Haaland made it 3-0 moments later. The former Borussia Dortmund star's second was particularly impressive, as he acrobatically volleyed Jack Grealish's cross with an overhead kick. Julian Alvarez then sealed the win with a fine finish from the penalty spot after Sekou Mara had pulled a goal back for the hosts.

At the end, Guardiola credited Haaland for changing the match against struggling Saints, stating that his talent is "really good" and that City needed him. The Spaniard, who coached Messi during his time at Barcelona, praised Haaland's abilities to find the net, stating that he is on the same level as the Argentine and Ronaldo, with both players being the most dominant footballers in the last two decades.

"The second goal was amazing. It is not easy to pick the ball up in the sky and put it on the grass," Guardiola told Match of the Day.

"His talent is really good. We need him. The first half was not our best level but he changed the game. As a top scorer we lived two incredible decades with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi but he is on that level. He scores a lot of goals. I am very happy with 65 minutes after injury and he helped us again."

Haaland has now scored a total of 44 goals in his debut season with Manchester City, including 10 goals in six appearances in the Champions League. Despite the win, Guardiola said he was not thinking about Tuesday's quarter-final against Bayern Munich as his striker's return from a groin injury was the only change from the side that thrashed Liverpool 4-1 last weekend.