‘Haaland is ab ***** d. His link-up play is always perfect ‘: Pep Guardiola praises Borussia Dortmund forward for having ragged his defense, while Manchester City’s £ 154m goal proves its worth in the Champions League clash at the Etihad
Pep Guardiola has labeled Erling Haaland a ‘b ***** d’ to defend after the Borussia Dortmund superstar caused a lot of trouble for his Manchester City side on Tuesday night.
The 20-year-old, who is a £ 154 million target for City and the rest of the European elite, showed off his raw pace, strength and intelligence against a strong Guardiola squad, causing a lot of trouble for the hosts during his Etihad audition .
Although Haaland finished on the losing side in the first leg of this Champions League quarter-final, Guardiola praised the Norwegian striker, claiming his pairing game was ‘always perfect’.
Pep Guardiola praises Borussia Dortmund attacker Erling Haaland (right)
Guardiola used his usual high pressure to stop any Dortmund attack to quickly reclaim the ball and create more strikes, but the Spaniard afterwards revealed how he struggled to keep football’s best features in check.
When asked if he was surprised at how the Dortmund midfield pressured his team, Guardiola told DAZN: ‘No, not surprised as I faced them when I was at Bayern Munich and they played five in the back.
‘The rest is played by that system and its quality [Mahmoud] Dahoud, [Jude] Bellingham and of course the pace of the people up front – the quality is there. We know it was.
‘But if you want to press, they play long balls. They play long balls against Haaland – Haaland is an asshole. Link-up [play] is always perfect and they have the pace so we knew it wasn’t easy to control them. ‘
Manchester City manager labeled Haaland on Tuesday as a ‘b ***** d’ to defend against
With the announcement that Sergio Aguero, the long-serving top scorer of all time, will be leaving for free at the end of the season, there is a room for a striker in Guardiola.
While they will face tough competition from many of the world’s most prestigious clubs, City are keen to sign Haaland to sign the sought-after striker and secure the long-term future of their attacking line.
Sportsmail reported on Monday that they could break their £ 100 million ceiling and double their transfer record to achieve a proposed £ 154 million move this summer.
All eyes will once again be on the 20-year-old for the return leg in Germany.
City take a 2-1 lead over Dortmund after Kevin de Bruyne’s 19th-minute opener before Bellingham controversially disallowed a goal for a foul on Ederson.
Haaland was refused in the second half on Tuesday-evening by City goalkeeper Ederson
Dortmund skipper Marco Reus brought the visitors up to scratch in the last 10 minutes, but Phil Foden stopped one last gasp of winner to give Guardiola’s side the advantage in Germany.
And Guardiola was delighted with how his side performed in Europe.
‘I want to congratulate the players,’ Guardiola told the club’s official website
How they stayed together. The quality of the opponent, not because we couldn’t, how much we fought and stayed together to the end.
The Premier League leaders have been linked with a big move for Erling Haaland
‘In the end we won, now we know each other fairly well. First Leeds, then we’ll take the time to see them and go there to win the game. They got that chance from Haaland from a long ball and Ederson made an incredible save – but no more.
‘After 1-0 we played the game to our rhythm and Phil got opportunities. In the last 30 minutes, he was our threat, if we could score at that point, the game would be completely different.
‘We were there and the reaction after 1-1 when you could go crazy, we didn’t. We won the game. ‘