Pep Guardiola criticized Erling Haaland’s generosity after Manchester City’s narrow victory over Leeds United (2-1) on Saturday. The penalty specialist surprisingly let Ilkay Gündogan take a penalty in the final phase, but the German shot on the post. That made it exciting in the final phase.
“This gesture shows how kind and generous Erling is. And it’s fine if he does something like that when it’s 4-0 and there are only ten minutes to play. But when the score is 2-0, a game isn’t over yet Certainly not in England,” Guardiola said in conversation with the BBC.
Within a minute of Gündogan’s miss, Rodrigo made the connection goal for Leeds United. City therefore had to fear expensive loss of points in the title fight, but the leader of the Premier League was spared a late equalizer.
Guardiola did not understand that Haaland did not take the penalty himself, even though Gundogan had made a hat-trick with a striking penalty kick. “Erling is the best penalty taker, so he always has to get behind the ball,” emphasized the Spaniard, who did not hide his frustrations during the game.
“Erling has already taken ten or eleven penalties and has a certain feeling about it. Not Gundogan. Of course: if the ball had gone in, everyone would have praised Gundogan for his hat-trick. But this is our job. That we must not forget.”
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Gundogan himself was also surprised by Haaland’s gesture
It was surprising in several respects that Haaland did not get behind the ball himself. The Norwegian top striker has already scored 35 times in the Premier League this season and hopes to sharpen that record number in the last rounds. He was also dry against Leeds United.
Gundogan himself had not seen it coming that he could put the ball on the spot. “When Erling grabbed the ball, I was sure he would take the penalty. But he wanted to give me the chance. I asked him a few more times if he was sure. But he was sure.”
Although Guardiola was not at all pleased with the turn of events, Gundogan has no regrets about accepting Haaland’s offer. “I was confident that I would score. We should have made it 3-0 earlier anyway. Sometimes it goes like that. I think we reacted well as a team after the 2-1.”
The minimal win keeps City on title track. ‘The Citizens’ have four points more than Arsenal and there are four more rounds to play. Manchester City also hopes to win the Champions League. The first game against Real Madrid awaits on Tuesday in the semifinals. On June 3, City will also play the FA Cup final against Erik ten Hag’s Manchester United.
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