Guardiola Backs World’s Best Haaland in Keane Row

Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City manager, has defended his striker, Erling Haaland, after he was subjected to criticism by former Manchester United captain Roy Keane. Keane had criticized Haaland’s “general play” as “so poor” and “almost like a League Two player” after City’s goalless draw against Arsenal in the Premier League. Haaland is the current leading scorer in the Premier League with 18 goals this season and won the Golden Boot last season. He scored 52 goals in all competitions as City lifted the Premier League, Champions League, and FA Cup. Guardiola has hailed Haaland as the “best striker in the world” and said he should be respected.

Guardiola has dismissed Keane’s remarks, insisting that any blame for the scoreless display against Arsenal should be shared by the team. He stated that Haaland is exceptional and helped City win what they did last season. Guardiola believes that the reason for not creating chances against Arsenal was not because of Haaland. He said that the standards that Haaland has are unbelievable and everyone expects other things. Guardiola stated that there are games where Haaland could be better, but he knew during the Arsenal game that the reason why they were not creating chances was not because of Haaland.

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Guardiola admitted that City’s failure to beat Arsenal has damaged their bid to win an unprecedented fourth successive English title. They are currently three points behind leaders Liverpool ahead of Aston Villa’s visit to the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday. Guardiola will need Haaland to be at his best if City are to extend their reign as champions. He believes that criticism comes with the territory of being a high-profile player and that players have to accept it.

Guardiola said that he is surprised that criticism comes from former players. He understands that journalists can be critical because they have never been on the pitch, but former players’ criticism always surprises him. He believes that as a public figure, players have to accept criticism. Guardiola stated that players have to ask for a lot of money during contract talks to accept those moments.

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