Pep Guardiola hits back at Roy Keane after ‘League Two player’ jibe at Erling Haaland

Pep Guardiola insists Erling Haaland is the best striker in the world after the Manchester City star was compared to a League Two player by Roy Keane.

Keane made the shocking observation while speaking for Sky Sports following Haaland’s understated performance in City’s goalless draw at home to Arsenal last weekend.


Keane is known for his big claims, but even this one regarding Haaland shocked fans

The Manchester United legend admitted that Haaland, top of the goalscoring charts after winning the Golden Boot last season, is in a class of his own in front of goal, but added that his overall game is “almost like that of a Ligue 2 player”.

Guardiola was unimpressed by the remarks, saying Haaland was instrumental in City’s treble success last season before insisting any responsibility for failing to score against Arsenal should be shared by the ‘team.

“I don’t agree with him, absolutely not,” Guardiola said. “He is the best striker in the world and he helped us win what we won last season. Erling is exceptional.

“The reason we’re not creating chances is not because of Erling. Erling’s standards are unbelievable and everyone expects something else.

“There are games where he could be better, but I knew in the Arsenal game that the reason we weren’t creating chances was not because of Erling.

“We needed more presence in the box. If we had that, Erling would have more space. That happens sometimes. If you want to score goals, bring a lot of players towards the opposing goalkeeper, it’s as simple as that.”

Guardiola, whose side host Aston Villa on Wednesday night, live on talkSPORT 2, admitted he is regularly perplexed by former players offering scathing opinions about contemporary footballers.

However, the Spaniard admits the criticism comes from being a top professional footballer.

Guardiola came to Haaland's defense after Keane's comments


Guardiola came to Haaland’s defense after Keane’s commentsCredit: Getty

“If you don’t want to accept this as a footballer, you have to dedicate yourself to another job,” Guardiola said. “When you are a public figure, you have to accept it.

“That’s why when you negotiate a contract you have to ask for a lot of money to accept these moments.

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“I’m surprised it’s coming from former players. With journalists I can understand because they’ve never been on the pitch, but former players are always a surprise (when they’re critical).”

Asked if he sees himself becoming a pundit in the future, Guardiola added: “I don’t know what will happen but I’m not the type to criticize my colleagues when I retire. “

Guardiola sarcastically joked his ‘ego’ was the driving factor behind a heated on-field exchange with Jack Grealish after the full-time whistle after the Arsenal game.

Grealish has had a reduced role this season, partly due to injuries, but Guardiola believes the England midfielder could make an impact as the season draws to a close.

“I have the feeling he is back – with mood, training and desire,” Guardiola added. “Now I’m happy.

“I only asked the players to be ready and be themselves, no matter if they perform at the highest level or less. We need everyone with the title schedule.”


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