Wednesday, April 24News That Matters

Pep Guardiola blasts Roy Keane for calling Haaland ‘a League Two player’

Pep Guardiola responded to Roy Keane’s criticism of Erling Haaland, who Keane claimed performed ‘as if he were a League Two player’ during Manchester City’s stalemate with Arsenal.

In an uncharacteristic display, Haaland struggled to make an impact in last Sunday’s pivotal Premier League title contest against the Gunners.

Had they triumphed, Manchester City would have overtaken their rivals. However, the draw left them in third place, trailing behind Arsenal and the frontrunners, Liverpool.

Manchester United legend Keane was scathing of Haaland who barely got a sniff of the ball against the Gunners, saying: ‘The levels of his general play are so poor.

‘Not just today, laying stuff off, headers, whatever it might be… in front of goal he is the best in the world but his general play for such a player is so poor.

‘He is almost like a League Two player. He’s a brilliant striker but he has to improve his all-round game.’

Erling Haaland’s overall play has been scrutinized before, even though he scored an impressive 52 goals in 53 matches last season, contributing to City’s treble victory.

Pep Guardiola firmly dismissed any criticism of his star player in response to Roy Keane’s remarks, during the press conference before Manchester City’s upcoming game against Aston Villa on Wednesday evening.

‘I am surprised it comes from former players,’ the manager said.

‘I am not agreeing with him, absolutely not. It’s like if I said he [Keane] is a manager for the second or third league.

‘The memory disappears quick. The problems the players have now, the pundits had.

‘The missing of chances, they missed them one thousand million times and they were hurt when they were criticised by former players.’

This season, the young striker has netted 29 goals in 35 appearances, currently topping the Premier League Golden Boot leaderboard, edging out closest competitors Dominic Solanke, Mohammed Salah, and Ollie Watkins by a margin of two goals.

‘He’s the best striker in the world and he helped us win what we won last season,’ Guardiola added.

‘The reason we don’t create many chances is not because of Erling. We need more presence in the final third with more people. Erling is exceptional.’

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