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Guardiola defends ‘best striker in the world’ Haaland after Keane comments

Guardiola defends ‘best striker in the world’ Haaland after Keane comments

Pep Guardiola staunchly defended Erling Haaland and called him the “best striker in the world” after Roy Keane criticised the Manchester City forward’s play outside the box.

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

However, Guardiola batted back those claims and waxed lyrical about his “exceptional” forward.

“I don’t agree with him, absolutely not,” said the Manchester City manager of Keane’s comments.

“He’s the best striker in the world,” added Guardiola of the 23-year-old Norwegian.

“He helped us win last season and the reason why we didn’t create many answers from Erling is we need more presence in the final third with more people.

“We played an exceptional game; I reviewed the game against Arsenal but we just missed more people in the final third. The quality and different skillset we have, Haaland is exceptional.

“Some actions he missed, sometimes it’s the managers, sometimes the opponent is really good, there are many, many reasons.

“In football there is not just one reason, sometimes where you have success or you don’t have success, there are many reasons, it’s football, it’s a team sport.”

Haaland has found the net 29 times across all competitions this season after scoring 52 goals in City’s 2022/23 treble-winning campaign.

Guardiola’s men are aiming to achieve the unprecedented feat of winning a fourth Premier League title in a row, and currently sit three points adrift of leaders Liverpool with nine games left this season.

Sunday’s goalless stalemate with Arsenal was the first time that City failed to score at home in a top-flight match since October 2021.

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