Why was Guardiola angry with Haaland during the penalty against Leeds?
The Manchester City manager did not like the fact that the Norwegian did not take the penalty.
Leeds United were the latest victims of Manchester City in the Premier League after losing 2-1 in a game that saw the home side dominate for large parts of the game. Manchester City were in cruise control at 2-0 and it looked as though when Pascal Struijk brought down Phil Foden with around 10 minutes to go, the lead would turn into three goals. Ilkay Gundogan, who had already scored 2, was handed the penalty by teammate and number one taker Erling Haaland, who offered him to ball to complete his hat-trick.
The German missed, with Joel Robles diving the right way, and saw his shot bounce back off the post, something which angered Guardiola on the touchline. The Catalan manager was unhappy with Erling Haaland for giving up the penalty to his teammate Gündogan. His anger was picked up by television cameras and as such he explained his feelings during the post-match press conference. “Who knows if Erling takes the penalty and misses? What happens if Riyad takes the penalty and misses?” Guardiola questioned the onlooking journalists.
“What happens if Ilkay Gundogan takes the penalty and scores? The question is if it’s 2-0, who is the taker?”, he continued, “The taker is Erling or Riyad, has to take it. The second point is that is shows how is Erling as a person. He wants to score goals, but at the same time the team, the mates are so important. 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? Erling is the best penalty taker right now so he has to take it”, said Guardiola.
Guardiola ‘likes to praise Erling when he doesn’t score’
He carried on, “today Erling could have scored two or three goals. He played incredibly well, in his movement and everything... how he fought for us. I like to praise Erling when he does not score. If Gundo scores 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”.
“At 2-0 you have to close it. You don’t have to give anything. If you can control you have to control. Saying that, Gundo could have scored, others could have missed. It’s not about that. I admire that Gundo wanted to take the responsibility to take the penalty. That is the best value as a player. Normally the taker is the taker, Erling has to take it, he’s the specialist.”
Nathan Ake injury a worry for Manchester City
The good news of the three points was somewhat marred by the fact that Nathan Ake suffered an injury at the start of the second half, which makes him a major doubt for Tuesday’s game against Real Madrid in the Champions League semi-final. Pep Guardiola, when asked about the player, preferred to dodge the question.
The player is, however, expected to undergo tests to determine the severity of what appeared to be a calf injury. After receiving treatment on the pitch and trying to continue, he was eventually substituted for Kyle Walker. Get more information on Nathan Ake’s injury, and whether he is expected to be back for the game against Madrid, here.