MANCHESTER: Erling Haaland faces possible disciplinary action after complaining about referee Simon Hooper on social media following Manchester City’s dramatic 3-3 draw with Tottenham on Sunday. The City striker was incensed after the official failed to play an advantage in the closing moments of a thrilling Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium. Haaland was fouled but quickly got up and played Jack Grealish through on goal, only for Hooper to pull play back and award a free-kick. Haaland was one of several City players to angrily remonstrate with the official and he continued his protests after the game by reposting a clip of the incident on X, formerly Twitter, with the comment “Wtf”, which is offensive slang.
Manager Pep Guardiola was not aware of Haaland’s social media post when he spoke to reporters after the game but, referring to Haaland’s on-field reaction, admitted he could understand the player’s anger. “It’s normal,” said the City boss. “His reaction was the same for 10 players. The rules are you cannot talk with the referees or fourth officials, so we should have had 10 players sent off today. “He’s a little bit disappointed.
Even the referee—if he played for Man City today he would be disappointed for that action, that’s for sure.” Guardiola had tried to temper his criticism, saying in a TV interview he did not want to make a “Mikel Arteta comment”, in reference to the Arsenal manager’s controversial remarks after a game against Newcastle last month.
He added in a press conference: “I make mistakes, the players make mistakes. “It surprised me because in the moment Erling went down (and) if you whistle in that moment it’s fine. “But when he stands up and continues and the referee makes that gesture to play on, and after he (Haaland) makes the pass he then stops the game—I don’t want to criticize him. “On the touchline sometimes I lose my mind and my gestures are not proper but for many years as a manager I’m not a guy, when I’m refreshed, to comment.”
Guardiola said he would not follow his former assistant Mikel Arteta in a public tirade at officials after Manchester City’s 3-3 draw against Tottenham on Sunday ended in controversial fashion. City were denied a huge chance to win the match in stoppage time when referee Simon Hooper stopped the game to award Guardiola’s men a free-kick just as Jack Grealish was bearing down on goal.
The decision sparked a furious reaction from City players and Guardiola on the touchline. Erling Haaland could face punishment after taking to social media to criticize the call. However, when facing the media, Guardiola kept his cool. Arsenal boss Arteta described the decision to award Newcastle’s winning goal against his side last month as a “disgrace” and “embarrassing” to the Premier League.
Arteta faces a Football Association charge for his comments, which were backed up by Arsenal in a club statement. “Next question. I will not do a Mikel Arteta comment,” Guardiola said when asked about the incident. “It is hard when you review the image. The referee decides to blow the whistle after he has already said to play on. “After the pass, the whistle, so I do not understand this action.” After draws against Chelsea and Liverpool, City have now failed to win in three consecutive Premier League games for the first time in over six years.
Guardiola’s men were made to pay for both a profligacy in front of goal and defensive errors. Spurs captain Son Heung-min scored at both ends in a frantic first 10 minutes. City then went on to dominate the first half but only had Phil Foden’s goal to show for it. A depleted Tottenham hit back after the break as Giovani Lo Celso fired in 20 minutes from time. Grealish looked to have given City victory, but Dejan Kulusevski’s 90th minute goal rescued a point for Ange Postecoglou’s men.
Spurs ‘lucky to be in it’
Postecoglou insisted he would not shy away from his attacking philosophy despite a mounting injury list and facing the might of City. And the Australian admitted his side were let off the hook in the first half by City’s wastefulness in front of goal. “We were lucky to be in it by half-time. City could have blown us away in that period,” said Postecoglou. “We weren’t anywhere near the level of our standards and City will do that to you, they are unbelievable. “Second half we had more belief in ourselves and the team we want to be and we clawed our way back into the game.” — AFP
City have now failed to win in five of their last eight Premier League games and face a daunting trip to Aston Villa on Wednesday.
But Guardiola refused to panic as he defended the performance of his players. “It was a pity, same as the Liverpool game, I had the feeling that today that we made an incredible performance in all departments, against a really good team and manager and how they play,” added Guardiola. “We created a lot of chances, we were aggressive, incredibly concentrated, and the feeling is that we still want to be there (at the top of the table). “Sometimes football is like life, you do not get what you deserve.” — AFP