Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola did not hide his displeasure with his side after edging their way past Leeds United on Saturday afternoon. The blues were 2-0 up going into the final minutes of the match when Phil Foden was brought down inside the penalty area, giving the blues an opportunity to make the game safe from the spot.
City’s regular penalty taker Erling Haaland passed the ball to Ilkay Gundogan to take, giving him a chance to complete his first hat-trick for the blues. However, the German thumped his spot-kick against the post and seconds later, Rodrigo gave the visitors hope by pulling a goal back from the edge of the area.
Guardiola let his feelings known, indicating to Haaland that he expected the Norwegian to take the penalty. After the match, the Catalan boss didn’t hold back. “The game is not over. If it is 4-0 with 10 minutes left, OK. But at 2-0? At 2-0, especially in England, it is never over.
“Erling is the best penalty taker right now so he has to take it. I want the player who is the taker, because they have more routine and a specialism. He has maybe taken 10 or 11 penalties and he had the feeling. Gundogan does not have that right now.
“I admire the fact Gundogan wanted the responsibility to take the penalty; that is the best value in a player, but normally the taker is the taker, and Erling had to take it because he is our specialist.
“If Gundogan scores the penalty 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.”
And the German star also described Guardiola’s annoyance at the missed opportunity. “First he [Guardiola] showed to Erling that he was quite mad about that and then also he had a go at me,” Gundogan explained. “It is what it is in the end.
“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.”
Leeds scored moments later to set up a nervy finish and, had the Yorkshire side scored an unlikely equaliser, Guardiola’s rage would have been much worse.
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