Pep Guardiola Fumes at Erling Haaland Despite Victory Against Leeds United

Manchester City boss, Pep Guardiola, was left reeling after his side’s 2-1 victory over Leeds United in the Premier League. It has left the Blues four points clear at the top of the table with just four games remaining and they now look nailed on to win their third consecutive Premier League title.

However, being the perfectionist that he is, Guardiola isn’t happy about Erling Haaland’s decision to let Ilkay Gundogan take a penalty late on in the game at 2-0. Haaland, who broke another goalscoring record on Wednesday night, is the club’s first-choice penalty taker but allowed the German midfielder to take the penalty instead as he was on for a hat-trick after netting two goals in the first half.

Gundogan subsequently missed the spot kick and shortly after, Leeds pulled a goal back through Rodrigo. With five minutes left on the clock, there was panic inside the Etihad that the Whites would pull off a shock comeback and steal a point, but Guardiola’s side managed to see the game out with relative ease.

Business is business

After the penalty miss, Guardiola was caught shouting across the pitch to Haaland that he should have taken the penalty. Expressing his frustration at the situation after the game, the City boss said:

“The game is not over. It shows how nice and generous Erling is. If it is 4-0 with 10 minutes left, OK. But at 2-0? At 2-0, especially in England, it is never over.

“Erling is the best penalty taker right now so he has to take it. I want the player who is the taker, because they have more routine and a specialism. He has maybe taken 10 or 11 penalties and he had the feeling – Gundogan does not have that right now.

“I admire the fact Gundogan wanted the responsibility to take the penalty – that is the best value in a player – but normally the taker is the taker, and Erling had to take it because he is our specialist. If Gundogan scores the penalty everyone is ‘OK, hat-trick, well done’. But a taker is a taker. At 2-0, this is a business, not a situation where we cannot forget it.”

Gundogan and Haaland get both barrels

Speaking after the game, Gundogan was very honest with reporters about how Guardiola had reacted in the dressing room. Explaining his version of events, the 32-year-old said:

“First Guardiola showed to Erling that he was quite mad about that and then also he had a go at me. It is what it is in the end.

The moment Erling grabbed the ball, I was sure he was going to take it but he looked out for me. I checked with him a few times to make sure he was sure. He was certain to hand the ball to me. I was confident to score. I can’t even remember if the keeper saved it or it was the post?

We should have scored a third. This is sometimes how it is that they go on the counter and score. Things can change, momentum can shift. But we dealt quite well with it and deserved the three points.”

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