‘He has to take it’ – Guardiola fumes at Haaland for giving penalty to Gundogan after late drama

Ben Stewart
Manchester, UK. 6th May, 2023. Josep Guardiola manager of Manchester City shows his displeasure during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester

Pep Guardiola has praised his side’s efforts against Leeds but admitted that Erling Haaland should have taken the penalty instead of Ilkay Gundogan.

Manchester City were the dominant side for the majority of the game and could have had several more goals on a different day.

Sam Allardyce’s side dug in well though and even gave Man City a scare towards the end when Rodrigo scored to make it 2-1.

Guardiola was pleased with the efforts of his side after what has been a hectic schedule for them of late.

“We played an exceptional game. Our possession game was really good,” Guardiola told BBC.

“First half was exceptional. We were maybe not as clinical as we should be. The second half, we cannot forget it is three games in six days with a lot of mental pressure.

“After Arsenal we were drained a bit and we kept going against Fulham and West Ham – tough opponents. At the end, the game could be over with the penalty. But they score and we have to suffer. But we played really, really good.

“I would say it was a comfortable game for him [Ilkay Gundogan] because he was not pressed much. But Gundo… what can I say? He can do everything. As a holding or attacking midfielder, he is so intelligent. We are delighted to have him.”

The Man City manager didn’t have much room for sentiment though as he was disappointed Haaland didn’t take the penalty, despite Gundogan being on a hat-trick.

Guardiola could be seen on the sidelines shouting at Haaland after the prolific forward decided to give the penalty up.

“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.

“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.”

The German midfielder was one of City’s best players and his two first-half strikes had given his side a commanding lead at the break.

“It is what it is at the end,” Gundogan explained. “The moment Erling grabbed the ball, I was sure he was going to take it but he looked out for me.

“I checked with him a few times to make sure he was sure. He was certain to hand the ball to me. I was confident to score. I can’t even remember if the keeper saved it or it was the post?

“We should have scored a third. This is sometimes how it is that they go on the counter and score. Things can change, momentum can shift. But we dealt quite well with it and deserved the three points.”

READ MORE: Leeds remain in peril but at least Allardyce has them standing up straight