Guardiola twice admits Man City have a baffling problem; explains early Haaland hook

Man City manager Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola explained why Erling Haaland was substituted after just 45 minutes against his former club, and admitted Man City have a big penalty problem when citing a ridiculous number of missed spot-kicks during his tenure.

Man City were made to settle for a point with Borussia Dortmund, though both sides got what they wanted from the Champions League contest.

The point was enough to see Man City confirmed as Group G winners. Similarly, one point sealed Dortmund’s place in the Last 16 as group runners-up.

Erling Haaland played just 45 minutes back in the stadium where his goalscoring exploits earned him a move to City. The Norwegian was substituted at half time in what appeared a pre-planned move.

Dortmund had several chances to take the lead, though their young crop of forwards lacked a clinical edge when opportunities arose.

City could’ve also snatched all three points when Riyad Mahrez won a penalty after being fouled by former Liverpool midfielder Emre Can.

The Algerian took responsibility with Haaland off the pitch, but saw his strike beaten away by goalkeeper Gregor Kobel.

Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Guardiola said: “We played much better in the second half.

“In the first half we lost some balls that we conceded counter attacks from and [Dortmund] are so fast.

“We suffered physically from our game on Saturday (against Brighton) being so demanding. With the trip and everything, we are a little bit tired.

“We achieved what we wanted – top of the group again, one more year. We’ll be in the Last 16 again so yeah, really good.”

Haaland half-time hook explained

When asked about bringing Haaland off at half-time and whether the striker is injured or if it was just precaution, Guardiola added: “Erling had a bit of fever before the game, Joao [Cancelo] too.

“He was tired, Joao as well, That’s why we change it. In that period we struggle a lot.”

Cancelo too came off at half time after enduring a torrid first half. However, any fears the pair are injured have seemingly been allayed.

Why can’t Man City score penalties?

On Mahrez’s missed penalty which was the tenth time he’s missed from the spot in 32 career attempts, Guardiola added: “We’ll see what happens.

“Of course it’s a problem [missing so many penalties]. Since I’m here we’ve missed 24 or 25 penalties, most of them in the Champions League. It’s too much.

“I always admire the courage to take responsibility to do it. But of course it’s a lot of penalties, this is a problem.

“We miss in Copenhagen as well, we have to improve. It’s fine margins in this competition and it can be the difference.”

Haaland would likely have been on penalty taking duty had he been on the pitch. Indeed, he’s taken two in the league this season and scored both, against West Ham and last weekend against Brighton respectively.

Guardiola will certainly be hoping his Norwegian marksman is on the pitch next time they’re awarded a spot kick in the Champions League.

The UCL is the one major honour that has eluded Guardiola during his time in Manchester.

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