Manchester City striker Erling Haaland appreciates there are no easy games in the Premier League after his 28th top-flight goal of the season sealed a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Haaland's penalty in the 78th minute earned City a vital win in the race for the title at Selhurst Park after Palace had frustrated the defending champions.
While Haaland was relieved to get the win, he referenced Liverpool's 1-0 defeat earlier in the day at Bournemouth as an example of the difficulty of the division.
"In the end all that matters is three points," he told Sky Sports. "It's not easy. Every single game is not easy. You saw Bournemouth beat Liverpool. Every single game is a fight and you saw that [for City], and we won and I am really happy."
No player has scored more Premier League penalties this season than Haaland (five, level with Brentford's Ivan Toney), while only Yaya Toure has scored more from the spot in a single campaign for City (six in 2013-14).
3 - Crystal Palace have become the first team on record (since 2003-04) to fail to have a single shot on target in three consecutive Premier League matches. Blunt. pic.twitter.com/5kfiW8htDj— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) March 11, 2023
Pep Guardiola's men had to come from 2-0 down to beat Palace 4-2 in the reverse fixture in August, which, according to Haaland, is why he and his team-mates did not panic while their game on Saturday was goalless.
"I was not concerned, I just tried to do as I do every single game and that was to focus on my game," he said. "The last game against [Palace] we were 2-0 down, and this time we were 0-0, so it's not that bad, we had to keep going. As I said, it's not easy, but I'm really proud."
Haaland missed an opportunity in the 28th minute when he scooped Nathan Ake's cross over the bar, and though the chance only had an expected goals (xG) rate of 0.2, the Norwegian said it annoyed him.
"Of course I don't like to miss chances," he said. "I had one in the first half that I should have scored, it was a small thing in the grass that made the ball bounce a bit higher, but what can I do?
"I have to keep going and try to get the next chance, and I got my chance and I scored and we win, so I'm happy."
City are just two points behind Arsenal at the top of the table, with the Gunners travelling to Fulham on Sunday.