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    Guardiola lauds ´exceptional´ Torres after first Man City hat-trick

    Pep Guardiola hailed Ferran Torres’ goalscoring instinct after the youngster plundered his first Manchester City hat-trick in the champions’ 4-3 win at Newcastle United.

    Torres, who joined from LaLiga side Valencia ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, put City 2-1 up with a sumptuous flicked finish after Joao Cancelo cancelled out Emil Krafth’s opener.

    A penalty from Joelinton and a Joe Willock goal – scored after the on-loan Arsenal man’s spot-kick had been saved – put the Magpies ahead, but Torres scored twice in two minutes to seal an English record 12th straight away win for City.

    Torres’ Friday evening treble took him to 13 goals for the campaign, with team-mate Phil Foden (14 goals) the only player aged 21 or under to have scored more for a Premier League club across all competitions this term.

    The St James’ Park hat-trick hero also became the youngest ever player to score a treble for a team managed by Guardiola, at 21 years and 75 days.

    Guardiola was full of praise for the Spain international, who he believes has all the attributes to be a successful central striker.

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    “It’s his first season in England and his numbers are exceptional,” the City boss told Sky Sports. “He came as a winger, but he has had to think about being a striker. When Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus were out, he was there.

    “He didn’t have minutes, but when he played he had a sense of goal. I’m really pleased.

    “He can be [a number nine]. We will use him, we used him and he was brilliant. His rhythm, especially defensively, has improved a lot.

    “The movement he makes as a striker. The [third] goal hits the bar and he knew where it would go. Strikers know intuitively where it will arrive. He has this talent, the first goal is fantastic.”

    Asked if the emergence of Torres as a central striking option could mean City do not dip into the transfer market to replace the departing Aguero, Guardiola said: “I don’t know what’s going to happen. Maybe we buy a striker, maybe not.

    “We have a guy, he’s young. A good transfer. I can use him on the left, right, or as a striker.

    “The season is too long, we can’t play with just 11 players. The best striker we can buy can’t play all the minutes.”

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