Pep Guardiola unhappy with Erling Haaland over penalty decision: ‘The game is not over’

Pep Guardiola was unhappy with Erling Haaland’s decision not to take a late penalty in Manchester City’s narrow win over Leeds United.

The reigning Premier League champions and league leaders were 2-0 down after Ilkay Gundogan’s first-half brace at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The match looked set to be put beyond doubt when substitute Pascal Struijk brought down Phil Foden in the box late in the game, but Gundogan hit the post from the spot before Rodrigo’s response sparked a nervy finale .

Top scorer and regular penalty taker Haaland has been superb from 12 yards this season but opted to give Gundogan the chance to score a hat-trick, a move his coach did not sit well with.

“The game is not over. It shows how kind and generous Erling is. If it’s 4-0 with 10 minutes to play, OK. But at 2-0? Erling is the best penalty taker right now. moment, so he has to take it,” he told the BBC.

“Today Erling could have scored two or three goals. He played incredibly well, in his movements and everything… how he fought for us.

“I like to congratulate Erling when he doesn’t score. If Gundo scores everyone, it’s ‘OK, hat-trick, well done’. But a taker is a taker. At 2-0, it’s a business, not a situation where it cannot be forgotten.”

The win takes Manchester City up four points at the top of the table ahead of second-placed Arsenal’s meeting with Newcastle United on Sunday.

The hosts’ performance was dominant for long stretches, especially in a totally one-sided first half, with two-goal man Gundogan shining.

“We played an exceptional match,” added Guardiola. “Our possession game was really good. The first half was exceptional. Maybe we weren’t as clinical as we should have been. The second half, we can not forget it is three games in six days with a lot of mental pressure.

“After Arsenal we were a bit exhausted and we continued against Fulham and West Ham – tough opponents. In the end, the match could end with the penalty. But they score and we have to suffer. But we played really well.

“I would say it was a comfortable match for him (Ilkay Gundogan) because he wasn’t in a big rush. But Gundo… what can I say? He can do anything. As a midfielder or an attacking midfielder, he is so smart. We’re thrilled to have him.”

Manchester City are next in action against Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday.


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(Photo: Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

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