MANCHESTER City manager Pep Guardiola revealed he substituted Erling Haaland at half-time of their midweek Champions League contest to rest him “for the next game".

Haaland’s double against FC Copenhagen on Wednesday saw him match Lionel Messi for the longest scoring run under Guardiola’s management.

The Norwegian has hit the ground running at Manchester City and has 17 goals in his last nine appearances, with three hat-tricks and at least one goal in each game.

City play host to Ralph Hasenhuttl’s Saints up next in the Premier League on Saturday, with the Austrian under significant pressure to keep his job.

Asked if his decision to replace two-goal Haaland, who has scored three consecutive home hattricks in the league, at the break was simply to rest him, Guardiola said: “Yes.

“The game was 3-0 and he has played a lot of minutes. Of course there are other ones, it’s good for the young players to play, Cole Palmer because he’s an excellent player, so that’s why.

“He’ll be rested for the next game.”

Guardiola added: “We played really well in all departments. Defensively, offensively, everybody was focused and many, many players played at a high level. It’s the only way.

“Everybody is involved and everybody has to play well to help the team and try to win game by game.”

Kyle Walker’s World Cup place could be at risk as the England and Manchester City defender faces a spell on the sidelines with an abdominal injury.

Walker missed City’s 5-0 Champions League win over FC Copenhagen on Wednesday night, and afterwards Guardiola said he was unable to put a timespan on how long he will be out for, with only six weeks until the start of the World Cup.

“It’s something abdominal and he will be a while out,” Guardiola said. “I don’t know (how long). I cannot say anything else.

“Kyle will be out for a bit. We have to speak to the doctors. Hopefully he can get (back for the World Cup) like Kalvin (Phillips).

“I know how important the World Cup is for the players but honestly I don’t know right now."