Soccer-Guardiola backs Haaland after Keane criticism

  • Football
  • Wednesday, 03 Apr 2024

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester City v Manchester United - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - March 3, 2024 Manchester City's Erling Braut Haaland shoots at goal Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith/File Photo

(Reuters) - Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said Erling Haaland is the best striker in the world and defended the Norwegian's performances following criticism from former Manchester United captain Roy Keane.

Haaland, who scored 36 goals in the Premier League last season, had little impact in City's 0-0 draw with Arsenal on Sunday and Keane said the 23-year-old's general play was well below Premier League level.

"His general play is so poor, and not just today. I think he has to improve that, he's almost like a League Two player," Keane said on Sky Sports after Sunday's game.

Guardiola said he did not agree with Keane's remarks on Haaland, who is the league's top scorer with 18.

"He (Haaland) is the best striker in the world and helped us to win (the treble) last season, and the reason why we don't create many chances is not because of Erling," he told reporters on Tuesday.

"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, Haaland is exceptional."

City, who are third and trail leaders Liverpool by three points, face Aston Villa later on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Shifa Jahan in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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