Aaron Cresswell admitted West Ham struggled to contain Erling Haaland as the Manchester City new boy fired them to a 2-0 victory.
Hammers full-back Cresswell is unlikely to be the last Premier League defender to speak about the difficulty of dealing with City’s £51million striker this season.
Haaland opened his goal account in England with a first-half penalty and a superb second-half finish after darting through West Ham’s defence as City got their title defence up and running.
“It is the first time I have played against him,” said Cresswell. “He is so powerful and direct.
“It’s obviously disappointing from our part but we were up against a fantastic team. The conditions were really hard for us, certainly when they keep the ball.
“They have a lot of possession and you feel like you’re constantly chasing. We were up against a really good team but we were disappointed with that.
“We started really well, in the first five minutes we put them on the back foot and then just when you’re looking to punish them, they get control of the game and make it very difficult.”
Haaland wanted a hat-trick but in truth he could have had five, missing a couple of presentable headers and just failing to get on the end of an Ilkay Gundogan pull-back.
In what could become a recurring theme this season, Kevin De Bruyne provided the assist for the second goal when he slid through a superb pass for the Norway international to slot beyond Alphonse Areola.
“Obviously sometimes, it’s not 100 per cent yet,” the Belgian told City’s website.
“But we’ve only played a couple of games. He will make the runs, and if I find him he will score the goals.
“He’s there to score goals and help the team, and he did that. I’m not putting too much pressure on him. I know there’s a lot of hype around him and obviously to start this way is good for him.”
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