Manchester City's Erling Haaland Picked Up An Injury On International Duty

Manchester City Boss Hits Back At Keane For ‘League Two’ Jibe At Haaland

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has criticized Manchester United legend Roy Keane for calling Erling Haaland a “League Two player” following the goalless draw against Arsenal. He hailed the Norwegian as the best striker in the world and claimed he was surprised to hear such remarks from an esteemed former player.

Roy Keane Criticized Erling Haaland’s Performance Following The Draw With Arsenal

Manchester City and Arsenal played out a surprisingly uneventful 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon (March 31). Haaland, who is leading the Premier League Golden Boot race with 18 strikes, cut a frustrating figure, failing to test Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya even once.

Ex-United star Keane was critical of the 23-year-old’s performance, saying his general gameplay was almost that of a League Two player. He said on Sky Sports:

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

Manchester City manager Guardiola, however, does not see fault in Haaland’s game and attested his faith in him by calling him the best in the business.

Manchester City Manager Pep Guardiola Hits Back At Roy Keane For Erling Haaland Remarks

In a pre-match press conference, Guardiola was asked to comment on Keane’s remarks. The Spaniard boldly replied (via GOAL):

I do not agree with him, absolutely not. It’s like [if] 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 he helped us to win what we won last season and the reason why we don’t create many chances [against Arsenal] is not from Erling. He is exceptional. We need more presence in the final third with more people and we played an exceptional game against Arsenal. I reviewed it.”

Guardiola then said he was always surprised to see such remarks from former players, who know how difficult it is to perform at the highest level. He also accused them of having a short memory, referring to Haaland’s last-season exploits (52 goals in 53 games).

The ex-Barcelona manager added:

I am surprised when it comes from former players. It’s like referees when they retire, they always criticize the refs.

That always surprises me. The memory disappears quickly. The problems players have now, they had too. They missed it a thousand, million times and were hurt when they were criticised by former players. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future but I am not a guy who is going to criticize my colleagues when I retire.”

Haaland and City will look to bounce back from consecutive Premier League stalemates (Liverpool, Arsenal) when they face Aston Villa on Wednesday night (April 3).

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