London: Erling Haaland said Manchester City have to back up a 3-1 win at Arsenal on Wednesday to go top of the Premier League with a consistent run of form.
The Norwegian scored his 32nd goal of the season to seal the three points that knocked Arsenal off the top of the table for the first time since November.
Arsenal still have a game in hand over their title rivals, but have now taken just one point from their last three games.
“I’m so happy,” Haaland told Amazon Prime. “We needed this one and now we need to start going on a run because that’s what Man City do.”
Haaland is in his debut season in the Premier League, but many of his teammates have been part of City’s four title-winning campaigns in the past five years.
“City, we — not me but all the boys and club here — are the champions so you can say so yes,” added Haaland on whether Pep Guardiola’s men had delivered the performance of champions.
“They (Arsenal) have been the best team this season so to come on their place and play against them is not easy and we got three important points.”
Guardiola described his side’s first-half performance as “horrible” but hailed the reaction of the visitors after the break.
Better second half
Kevin De Bruyne pounced on an error by Takehiro Tomiyasu to put City in front, but Arsenal levelled before the breakthrough Bukayo Saka’s penalty.
Jack Grealish’s deflected effort restored City’s lead 18 minutes from time before Haaland swept home De Bruyne’s pass.
“They have one game in hand still so I consider them leaders but we could have been eight, nine or 10 points behind two weeks ago and now we are there,” said Guardiola.
“First half they were much better than us, (our) second half was much better. At half-time, we said we are not playing, just defending, because they are so good.
“But we should be more active and the second half was excellent.”
Victory is everything
City defender Ruben Dias said the victory meant everything to the defending champions.
“Very happy to get the three points, that’s it. Very intense, many duels, two teams who love to press high and have the ball. Fortunately, we were the ones on top at the end,” Dias said after City’s 11th successive league win over Arsenal.
“This means everything to us, when you come to these moments against your rival, it just means everything. For our team that’s the way to live it. One game at a time, but leave it all there in that one game and make sure you have nothing left.”