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Pep Guardiola responds to Roy Keane's criticism of 'League Two Erling Haaland'

Guardiola responds to Keane's criticism of 'League Two Haaland'
© Reuters
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola responds to Roy Keane's comments comparing Erling Haaland to a "League Two player".

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has hit back at Roy Keane's criticism of Erling Haaland.

Following his arrival from Borussia Dortmund in 2022, Haaland played a crucial part in Man City's treble-winning season, netting 52 goals in 53 competitive matches.

Haaland has continued to enjoy success in the current campaign, racking up 29 goals in 35 appearances, including 18 strikes in 24 Premier League outings.

Despite sitting top of the Premier League scoring charts, the 23-year-old drew criticism from Keane following Sunday's goalless draw against title rivals Arsenal.

The former Manchester United captain claimed the Norwegian's "general play" was similar to that of a "League Two player".

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on March 31, 2024© Reuters

Guardiola responds to Keane's criticism

"I do not agree with him," Guardiola told reporters when asked about Keane's comments ahead of Wednesday's clash with Aston Villa.

"It's like I said: 'He's 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.

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

The Man City boss admitted that he is "surprised" about the criticism that comes from ex-professionals once they have called time on their playing careers.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts on March 16, 2024© Reuters

Guardiola hits out at former players

"I'm surprised this came from a former player," Guardiola added. "From journalists, I can understand, never been on the pitch but former players is always a surprise.

"It's like the referees when they retire they criticise the referees. How difficult is that business for the players? It always surprises me. Their memory disappears quickly. The problems the players have, they had. They missed a thousand, million times, and they were hurt when they were criticised by the former players.

"But today is what it is. We have to accept it and move forward. I don't know what's going to happen in the future but I'm not going to criticise my colleagues when I retire. 'Should be this, should be that, could do that' – I could do it now, and I don't do it. But everyone has to live for something.

"Players have to accept it, it's the job. If you don't want to accept it you have to do another job. When you're this public figure you have to accept it."

Guardiola's current focus will be on Wednesday's home game against Aston Villa, with the third-placed side looking to extend their unbeaten run to 24 matches.

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Manchester City's Erling Haaland reacts on February 17, 2024
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