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Pep Guardiola races to Erling Haaland’s defence after Manchester United legend’s “League 2 player” jibe

Pep Guardiola rebukes Roy Keane criticism of Manchester United City star Erling Haaland.
Pep Guardiola rebukes Roy Keane criticism of Manchester United City star Erling Haaland. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Pep Guardiola rebukes Roy Keane criticism of Manchester United City star Erling Haaland

Pep Guardiola was quick to come to the defence of Erling Haaland following the remarks made by Manchester United legend Roy Keane regarding the Norwegian striker’s overall play.

The 23-year-old failed to find the back of the net against Premier League title rivals Arsenal last week as the game ended 0-0, leaving Man City three points behind league leaders Liverpool with nine games to play.

This prompted some choice words from the former Man United captain on Sky Sports after the game, as reported by BBC Sport:

“The levels of his general play is so poor, and not just today. His general play for such a player, it is so poor, I think he has to improve that, he’s almost like a League Two player.”

Pep Guardiola rebukes Roy Keane criticism of Manchester United City star Erling Haaland. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
Haaland has 29 goals from 35 appearances across all competitions this season. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images) (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Haaland’s tendency to take few touches was noted in his first season in England, despite the 52-goal return he produced during Man City’s historic treble-winning run.

Guardiola was keen to point this out as he spoke about his side’s performance against Arsenal and defended Haaland’s performances.

“I don’t agree with him [Keane], absolutely not. He’s [Haaland] the best striker in the world.

“He helped us win last season and the reason why we didn’t create many answers from Erling is we need more presence in the final third with more people.

“We played an exceptional game, I reviewed the game against Arsenal but we just missed more people in the final third. The quality and different skillset we have, Haaland is exceptional.”

City’s defence of their treble remains alive on all fronts going into the business end of the season. They have an FA Cup semi-final date booked with Chelsea as well as a Champions League quarter-final tie against Real Madrid.

Keane’s criticism of Haaland requires no forensic analysis

Roy Keane’s recent remarks on Erling Haaland are little more than sensationalist reactionary commentary that gets traction on social media but doesn’t really mean much.

Pep Guardiola rebukes Roy Keane criticism of Manchester United City star Erling Haaland. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
It’s Keane being Keane. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Even if you put aside Keane’s history with both Man City and Erling’s father, Alf-Inge, his comments make sense for the grumpy-old-man persona he has become famous for portraying in the media.

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It’s good for a laugh or two. But there’s not much substance here. It need not be entertained for more than what it is.

Written by Anshuman Joshi

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