Pep Guardiola says he will not change his man-management style after Roy Keane criticised him for his on-pitch discussion with Erling Haaland at the final whistle of the Manchester derby.
The Manchester City manager was caught on camera having an engrossing conversation with the Norwegian striker, who scored twice in the win at Old Trafford. “It’s all for show,” Keane said on Sky Sports. “You can have that chat in the dressing room. What’s the big deal?”
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It is a tactic often used by Guardiola, whose team play Bournemouth on Saturday, when he looks to offer insight to players in the immediate aftermath of a match and make his points about where they can improve while incidents are fresh in the mind. Guardiola felt Haaland could have had a hat-trick at Old Trafford if he had put more power into a header that was saved by André Onana.
“I respect Roy Keane a lot,” Guardiola said. “I can avoid it [talking to players on the pitch]. Maybe Roy is right but it happens. I don’t need at my age to do something for the people. Sometimes I go inside, sometimes say hi to the referees. It’s what I feel in the moment.”
Haaland came second in the Ballon d’Or to Lionel Messi this week. He had a month off when the World Cup took place last November and December, keeping him fresher than most of his colleagues for the end of the campaign. The Norwegian has made 18 appearances for club and country this season, scoring 16 goals, but has no such scheduled break.
“He feels really fit now,” Guardiola said. “Sometimes he has niggles, especially in the abductor in the past when he came from Dortmund. Now completely opposite, he feels free of problems. Today I saw him training with an incredible energy. I don’t think about March, April and May; we try to win games to be contenders in March, April and May for the competitions we are playing in.
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“We will see. If he goes down and is tired, he takes a rest. Now, I think he’s feeling good. For us, having him on the pitch gives us confidence and is an incredible threat to the opponents. He is so incredible, a lovely player who is really special for us.”