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Pep: Forgetting misses makes Haaland great

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Published in Soccer
Sunday, 03 March 2024 17:17

Pep Guardiola said that Erling Haaland's ability to miss chances and "forget in an instant" is what defines him as a great player after the forward scored in Manchester City's 3-1 win against Manchester United following a series of wasted opportunities.

Two earlier goals from Phil Foden enabled City to cancel out Marcus Rashford's stunning opener for United to seal a crucial win at the Etihad ahead of next Sunday's clash with Premier League leaders Liverpool at Anfield.

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Prior to Foden's contribution, Haaland had missed easy chances to equalise for City including when he volleyed over the crossbar when faced with an open goal in the first half.

Haaland, who leads the race for the Premier League Golden Boot with 18 goals so far this season, missed several chances in the recent draw at home to Chelsea before going on to score five in the FA Cup win at Luton Town in midweek.

And after scoring late in the game against United following his earlier misses, Guardiola said that Haaland is simply proving his incredible scoring ability by being able to shrug off his misses.

"The great, great players I met, I was lucky to manage many of them, they forget [missed chances] in an instant," Guardiola said. "They forget as quick as possible.

"Footballers, basketball players. They miss. They just smile and get on with it and he [Haaland] did it. He has an incredible ability to forget. That defines the great players."

Foden's double strike, after scoring a hat trick against United at the Etihad last season, extended his run of form against City's neighbours.

And Guardiola said the 23-year-old is now showing himself to be the best player in the Premier League.

"What can I say? He is the best player in the Premier League right now for the amount of things he does. Unbelievable," Guardiola said. "He is right now the best so far.

"I always had the feeling he would score goals, but now he is winning games. He's a world class player. He lives for football, but now he is winning games.

"He played false nine at Bournemouth and now today. Rashford scored an incredible goal, but Foden was incredible too.

"It is the amount of games he is playing. He was always a talented player but nohe w he is more mature and understands more the game, especially defensively. He can play middle, right, make moments and cut inside, play in the left, scoring from the left."

City face Liverpool at Anfield next Sunday trailing Jurgen Klopp's side by one point at the top of table while third-placed Arsenal can move to within a point of City by beating bottom club Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Monday.

But with the title race so tight, Guardiola said it is up to City how and where they end up this season.

"It is about us," he said. "We can't control what Liverpool or Arsenal, Aston Villa or other contenders do, it is about us. We do what we have to do to win today, next Wednesday and Sunday. This team is legendary.

"Will we do it? I don't know. We have today more points at this stage than last season.

"The difference is Liverpool have I don't know how many more points than this stage last season. When the opponent is behaving like this, what can I say, congratulations so far. We will continue to try game by game."

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