Pep Guardiola praised Erling HaalandWinner against former Borussia Dortmund as a cross between Johan Cruyff and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Norwegian striker secured Manchester City’s 2-1 win over his former club with an acrobatic finish in the 84th minute – his 13th goal in just eight matches since his summer move to the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola said the goal evoked memories of Cruyff and Ibrahimovic – whom the City boss seemed to derisively called a “dear friend” after the pair fell out during their time together at Barcelona – and admitted he was covering up mostly sub-par performance. from his team.
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“People who know me probably know the impact of Johan Cruyff on my life as a person and as a teacher and years ago he scored an amazing goal at Barcelona’s Camp Nou against Atletico Madrid,” Guardiola said.
“The moment Erling scored, I thought they were quite similar. I remember my good friend Ibrahimovic, who has this ability to put his foot on the surface, and Erling is very similar in that.
“I think that’s his nature, he’s flexible, he’s flexible and then he has the ability to connect and put the ball into the net. I think his mum and dad give him that flexibility.”
City failed to score a shot on goal in the first half and fell to A Jude Bellingham Header shortly after the break.
John Stoneswho plays at right-back, tied with an unlikely 20-yard rocket after 80 minutes, and Guardiola then indicated that he was not happy with his team’s performance.
“We were not at the right pace,” Guardiola added. “John Stones’ goal. In the first half John Stones didn’t hit, but at that moment we were in the right rhythm.
“John was in the right rhythm and created an exceptional goal. We can’t make 60 or 65 minutes play, we’re a different team. It’s not about winning or losing, every day you have to give a good performance. It’s a good lesson.”
Meanwhile, top scorer Bellingham was one of Dortmund’s most prominent stars, with the 19-year-old midfielder described as an “exceptional player” by Guardiola after the match.
“I think we were great for the majority of the match,” Bellingham said. “We gave them a little to work with. Their good players were playing well, but they didn’t necessarily kill us in dangerous areas.
“I think that’s where we had an advantage, obviously great teams, you give them a yard and they can deliver like that, they can hurt you and that’s what they did tonight.”
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