Pep Guardiola believes Ferran Torres could develop into a top striker after he scored a hat-trick in Man City’s 4-3 win over Newcastle United.
Torres scored his side’s second, third and fourth goals as they twice came from behind to win at St. James’ Park. It was his first hat-trick for City since joining from Valencia ahead of the 2020/21 campaign. The treble also took him to 13 goals in all competitions this season.
And having just witnessed the Spaniard drag the champions over the line against a spirited Newcastle side, Guardiola was full of praise for him.
Asked if he was impressed by Torres’ display, he told Sky Sports: “Not just this evening. Of course, this evening was so important, but not just this evening. It’s his first season in England and his numbers are exceptional. In terms of goals, exceptional.
“He came as a winger, and then he had to think about it to play as a striker. When we had Sergio [Aguero] and Gabriel [Jesus] injured for most part of the season and played as a striker, all of it was there.
“He scored against Leeds, he scored against Crystal Palace. There were periods of time where I didn’t give [him] minutes, but he’s played and has a sense for goal and it is so important. So I’m very pleased.”
Torres scored his first Premier League goal against Burnley in November, while he also netted in the reverse fixture against the Magpies on Boxing Day. The strikes against Leeds and Crystal Palace came last month.
Torres can make striker switch
Guardiola is also confident that Torres can be used up front more regularly, insisting he has the skillset to play as a number nine.
Questioned if he is a serious option in that position long-term, Guardiola responded: “Yeah, he can be. He is an alternative and we have used him this season and he was brilliant.
“And now his rhythm, especially defensively, has increased a lot. In the beginning it was a little bit soft, but the game against Crystal Palace he made a turn. He was so good, the best game I think he’s played.
“But the movement he played as a striker, the runs in behind [are better]. The goal for example- his last one- shoot [against] the crossbar, where the ball comes, he is there. Not right, not left, the ball comes where he is.
“It’s a smell, it’s a sense, the strikers know. To anticipate and be intuitive to know where the ball will arrive one second before [it does]. He has this talent, he’s a good finisher.”
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