Manchester City

Manchester City

Premier League • England

Guardiola compares stunning Haaland goal to legendary figure, but takes issue with overall Man City performance

Pep Guardiola crouching on the touchline

Pep Guardiola believes Erling Haaland was emulating one of the all-time greats with his goal against Borussia Dortmund – but does not like the fact that Manchester City had to come from behind.

Manchester City kept up their winning start in the Champions League group stage with a 2-1 triumph over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday. They had to come from behind to do so after Jude Bellingham opened the scoring in the second half.

But two stunning goals from the Premier League champions within the last 10 minutes turned things around. First, John Stones fired a goal in from outside the box to equalise for Manchester City.

Then, Joao Cancelo sent in a delightful assist with the outside of his boot for Haaland, who acrobatically stretched out to volley in with the outside of his own left foot.

Perhaps it was meant to be that Haaland would score against the club from whom Manchester City bought him in the summer. But the circumstances in which he did so were seriously impressive, showing just how good a player Guardiola has at his disposal.

Guardiola told BT Sport: “What a goal.

“I remember, long long time ago in Barcelona, Johan Cruyff scored one quite similar goal against Atletico Madrid.

“Today, it’s like Erling emulated Johan Cruyff.”

First-half performance did not impress

That said, the Manchester City boss is not particularly pleased with how his side performed in the first half.

After the comeback win, he said: “We are used to doing it lately.

“In our first years we did not have this ability and now after what happened against West Ham in the previous game last season and especially Aston Villa we now have the feeling.

“But I don’t like it, we play in a wrong gear today. No aggression, we were incredibly passive.

“And the moment we change the rhythm, we do so at 1-0 down, and the rhythm from Phil, Bernardo and Julian, we change a little bit our pace and two excellent goals.

“I know everyone will talk about Erling again, thank you, but come on, John Stones has a highlight.”

Guardiola highlights how Stones made use of Man City rhythm

Stones’ goal may have ended up being overshadowed by Haaland’s, but it was just as important to the result.

Guardiola felt it epitomised the momentum that Manchester City were building.

He explained: “I’m pretty sure the first half, the way we play, that John wouldn’t be able to have the courage to try it.

“But we had in that moment the rhythm and said OK, it’s going to happen, and John makes an exceptional goal. I’m so happy for him.”

It is now two wins from two for Manchester City in Group G. This was a hard-fought one, which Guardiola could have expected.

He said of Borussia Dortmund: “It’s an exceptional team, every year is in the Champions League and is a really, really good team.

“And we knew it. We were not good enough today. But at the same time it’s always good to have that resilience – let’s go, let’s go.

“And after, with Julian in the box with Erling and having an alternative now, it works.”

Manchester City now have a couple of days to prepare for their next Premier League match, against Wolves on Saturday.

READ MOREMan City join race for attacker attracting Chelsea, but may have to stretch to record transfer territory