Guardiola told to drop ‘poor’ Haaland after Man City trio ‘asked’ to be subbed – ‘I’m astonished’

Lewis Oldham
Man City Haaland
Erling Haaland is criticised after "poor" display.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has been told to drop Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne after they “asked” to be brought off against Real Madrid.

Man City were dumped out of the Champions League on Wednesday night as they were beaten 4-3 on penalties by Real Madrid after the two sides drew 4-4 on aggregate.

“They could not continue…”

In the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, last season’s Champions League winners Man City were held to a thrilling 3-3 draw against Real Madrid.

In the return leg on Wednesday, Rodrygo netted an early opener to shock the Etihad but De Bruyne netted a deserved equaliser with around 15 minutes remaining.

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Man City dominated the second leg but could not find a winner as the tie headed to penalties.

Luka Modric stepped up to take Real Madrid’s first penalty and Ederson kept out his effort. But the visitors scored their next four spot-kicks, while Man City duo Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic failed to convert as Guardiola’s side were condemned to a heartbreaking Champions League exit.

👉 Manchester City once again left ruing lack of knockout punch as Real Madrid eke out shootout win
👉 Guardiola reveals Haaland and two Man City team-mates ‘asked’ to come off vs Real Madrid
👉 Guardiola told to drop ‘poor’ Haaland after Man City trio ‘asked’ to be subbed – ‘I’m astonished’

Haaland, De Bruyne and Manuel Akanji were unable to take penalties as they were taken off before the end of extra-time. The centre-back picked up an injury but his two teammates also “asked” to be taken off as they “could not continue”. 

Guardiola told reporters: “They asked me to go out. They could not continue.”

He added: “I would have preferred to win, but congratulations to Real Madrid, they defended so deep with incredible solidarity, and we did everything.

“I don’t have any regrets about what we have done. Always we try to create more chances and concede less, because we believe that helps you to win and we did everything.

“We played exceptionally in all departments, and unfortunately, we could not win.”

“I’m astonished by that…”

Ex-Aston Villa forward Gabby Agbonlahor and presenter Alan Brazil responded to Guardiola’s revelation during their appearance on talkSPORT on Thursday morning.

“Last night would’ve taken so much out of them City players. They looked shattered,” Agbonlahor said on talkSPORT.

“I mean we’re going to talk about it, Pep Guardiola came out after the game and said Haaland and De Bruyne asked to be taken off.”

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Brazil then interjected to say: “I’m astonished by that.”

Agbonlahor added: “They asked to be taken off. From fatigue. I think [it was] from niggles or fatigue maybe, but I don’t want to see them on Saturday then in the FA Cup.

“You’re asking to be taken off in the biggest game of the season when your team needs you. Especially Haaland, who for me was poor.

“And Kevin De Bruyne, 111 minutes, surely you just see it through? You’re one of the better penalty takers.”

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