pep guardiola and haaland

Pep Guardiola responds to Roy Keane’s ‘League Two’ attack. Erling Haaland

Pep Guardiola called Erling Haaland “the best striker in the world” and said Manchester City won the triple because of him in response to Roy Keane’s criticism.

After the 0-0 draw against Arsenal, the former Manchester United midfielder remarked that Haaland’s finishing was world-class, but his play was “poor” and he looked like a League Two player.

Roy Keane

Guardiola remarked, “I disagree with him,” before Manchester City’s game against Aston Villa on Wednesday. As I remarked, ‘He’s a manager for the second or third league – I don’t think so.

The finest striker in the world helped us win last season, but Erling is not the reason we don’t create many chances. Our game versus Arsenal was great.

Julián Álvarez

I reviewed it and found we missed more persons in the final third, possibly due to our quality and expertise. Former players startled me with their critique. Since journalists have never played, I understand.”

Guardiola was asked if Julián Álvarez could provide further information on Keane’s remark concerning Haaland’s general play. “You are right, maybe if Julián, Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne, Oscar Bobb are there. They want positional movement, Guardiola added. “But it is.”

Julián, Phil Foden, Kevin De Bruyne, Oscar Bobb

Guardiola said Nathan Aké, a versatile Dutch defender, will miss the game against Villa and may be sidelined for a while after limping off Sunday.

“There are two months left so hopefully he will be back soon but I don’t know the timings,” Guardiola stated. “He will not be ready for the next games.”

Kyle Walker may miss Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final

Villa may have John Stones, but Kyle Walker may miss Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final first leg at Real Madrid. “The doctors say no but Kyle is Kyle, he has a special genetic makeup,” Guardiola remarked.

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City trail Liverpool by three points and Arsenal by one. Eight games remain after the midweek round, and the champions need both their opponents to drop points to retain the title.

Ollie Watkins

On Sunday, Liverpool play Manchester United, and Guardiola joked about cheering on City’s rival. He replied, “I always cheer on United,” but added, “No, not really.”

Villa’s leading scorer, Ollie Watkins, is out against City. The England international injured his hamstring in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Wolves. He wanted to play after halftime, but the doctor recommended against it.

Unai Emery, Villa manager, called it a “small injury” but forced him and Jacob Ramsey, who has been out since last month with a foot ailment, to miss the match at the Etihad Stadium.

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