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FootballMan City: Guardiola backs Haaland after Keane's 'League Two' jibe

Man City: Guardiola backs Haaland after Keane’s ‘League Two’ jibe

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has leapt to the defence of Erling Haaland after Roy Keane compared him to a League Two player, describing him as the world’s best striker.

After City’s goalless draw with fellow title contenders Arsenal on Sunday, former Manchester United captain Keane said Haaland’s “general play” is “poor” and “almost like a League Two player”.

Haaland scored 52 goals in all competitions last season and has 29 to his name this term, including 18 in the Premier League, despite missing 10 games through injury either side of Christmas.

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Speaking ahead of City’s huge Premier League clash with Aston Villa on Wednesday, Guardiola was asked about Keane’s criticism of the striker.

“I am not agreeing with him,” Guardiola said. “It’s like if I said: ‘He [Keane] is a manager for the second or third league’. I don’t think so.

“He’s the best striker in the world and helped us to win what we won last season, and the reason why we don’t create many chances is not because of Erling.

“Some actions he missed, sometimes it’s the managers, sometimes the opponent is really good, there are many, many reasons.

“In football there is not just one reason, sometimes where you have success or you don’t have success, there are many reasons, it’s football, it’s a team sport.”

Haaland was generally starved of service as City managed just a single shot on target against Arsenal, despite dominating possession as Mikel Arteta’s team sat back behind the ball.

Guardiola remains pleased with aspects of the champions’ performance in that match and does not understand former players criticising Haaland’s display.

“We played an exceptional game against Arsenal,” Guardiola added. “I reviewed it – we just missed more people in the final third, maybe for the quality and different skills we have.

“I am surprised it has come from former players. From journalists I understand, because they have never been on the pitch.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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