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Guardiola defends ‘best striker in the world’ Haaland after Roy Keane criticism

Pep Guardiola labelled Erling Haaland the “best striker in the world” after the Manchester City frontman was likened to a League Two player by Roy Keane.

The former Manchester United captain made the observation in his role as a pundit for Sky Sports after Haaland drew a blank in City’s goalless draw against Premier League title rivals Arsenal on Sunday.

Keane concurred Haaland, top of the scoring charts after winning last season’s Golden Boot, is in a class of his own in front of goal but added his all-round game is “almost like a League Two player”.

Guardiola was unimpressed by the remarks, arguing Haaland was instrumental in City’s treble success last season before insisting any blame for not scoring against Arsenal should be shared by the team.

“I don’t agree with him, absolutely not,” Guardiola said. “He’s the best striker in the world and he helped us to win what we won last season. Erling is exceptional.

“The reason we don’t create chances is not because of Erling. The standards that Erling has are unbelievable and everyone expects other things.

“There are games where he could be better but I knew during the game against Arsenal that the reason why we were not creating chances was not because of Erling.

“We needed more presence in the box. If we had that Erling would have more space. It happens sometimes. If you want to score goals, bring a lot of players to the opponent keeper, it is as simple as that.”

Guardiola, whose side welcome top-four hopefuls Aston Villa on Wednesday evening, admitted he is routinely bemused by former players offering scathing views about contemporary footballers.

However, the Spaniard accepts that criticism comes with the territory of being a high-profile professional footballer.

“If you