Frustrated Haaland defended by Guardiola after Man City draw | Football | Sport

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Pep Guardiola leapt to the defence of top goalscorer Erling Haaland after he wasted multiple chances to score in Manchester City‘s 1-1 draw with Chelsea. Despite having numerous opportunities, including an unopposed header eight yards out late on, Haaland couldn’t find the back of the net at the Etihad Stadium.

Rodri scored an equaliser in the 83rd minute to cancel out former City winger Raheem Sterling’s opener for Chelsea in the first half. But a wasteful City were left to rue their missed opportunities. Despite that, Guardiola stayed positive about Haaland’s performance despite the No. 9 failing to convert any of his nine attempts on goal.

He said: “It’s good to have nine shots and next time he’s going to score. I was a football player for 11 years and scored 11 goals. What stats! One goal a season. I’m not a proper man to give advice to strikers.

“We create the chances, he had the chances and next time he’s going to score. I don’t blame him. It’s football, he’s human.”

At the end of the game, a visibly frustrated Haaland – who still leads the Premier League Golden Boot race with 16 goals – pushed away a Sky Sports TV camera. It has been a challenging week for the Norwegian, who recently lost his grandmother.

The result leaves City four points behind league leaders Liverpool after the Reds and Arsenal both clinched convincing victories against Brentford and Burnley respectively on Saturday.

Discussing the overall City performance against Chelsea, Guardiola admitted the first half wasn’t up the treble winner’s usual high standards. He explained: “As a team and a group, the first half was not like we are. The demands are so high because no-one is going to give it to us, we have to do everything.

“We are Man City so we have to do it for ourselves all the time. We had to improve the first half and the second half was unbelievable, how we played and how we made transitions.

“In general, it was really good after we conceded from Raheem but when we play teams with the composure and prestige of Chelsea you have to perform at your best for 95 minutes. We did our best. Now we play on Tuesday and we are going to try and get the points.”

Chelsea, whose next match is the Carabao Cup final vs Liverpool next Sunday, have had a tumultuous season but can take plenty of positives out of this draw against the reigning champions. Their manager Mauricio Pochettino believes they showed what they’re really made of at the Etihad.

Pochettino said: “We tried to prepare, all the coaching staff, to make the plan for the game but football is always a game that belongs to the players and today the execution and the performance was from them. They showed character.

“It was a really important game for us to keep the momentum to realise we are in a good way and improving. Still we are not at the level of Man City but that is our aim.

“We need to live this type of game to improve and to create the spirit we need. We show in every single game we want to be competitive.”



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