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Explained: Why Pep Guardiola DENIED Erling Haaland double hat-trick chance in Man City's Champions League demolition of RB Leipzig

  • City thrashed Leipzig 7-0
  • Haaland scored five before he was taken off
  • Guardiola explains substitution

WHAT HAPPENED? The Norwegian striker was at his brilliant best against RB Leipzig in the Champions League as he scored five in Manchester City's 7-0 win to ease them into the quarter-finals. He became the third player to score five goals in a Champions League fixture after Lionel Messi (for Barcelona against Bayer Leverkusen) and Luiz Adriano (for Shakhtar Donetsk against Bate Borisov). However, Guardiola took him off in the 63rd minute and introduced Julian Alvarez, which prevented the striker from chasing a historic double hat-trick.

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WHAT THEY SAID: When quizzed about the substitution after the match, Guardiola said: "If he achieves this milestone at 22, 23, it will be boring his life. He wouldn't have a target to reach in the future. Here and everywhere. That's why I make a substitution. I didn't know about Messi with Leverkusen (when he scored five against them in 2012), but I make a substitution because normally when the game is over we want them to play. He scored five goals. The problem is every time we don't score two or three he will be criticised. This is the reality."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Guardiola also highlighted Haaland's movement on the pitch, which allowed him to be more involved in the game, and praised him for helping out defensively. He added: "Today he scored five but touched 30-35 ball contacts. This is what we're looking for. When you're involved in a game defensively, the ball comes to score goals you're more clever, more precise. Gundogan scores goals, he can do it. Sometimes it's his fault, sometimes he doesn't move.

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"For example at Crystal Palace he didn't move, I said 'you didn't play good today'. Other days it is our fault, like in Leipzig we didn't find him. Sooner or later we're working a bit, everyone we try to make the process quicker. Once we break the holding midfielder we have to be quicker. People think it depends on the line-up we'll play slowly, comfortable. The mentality is always been so so aggressive. Sometimes we cannot do it because the opponent is there."


Erling Haaland Manchester City 2022-23Getty Imageshaaland manchester city(C)Getty ImagesErling Haaland Manchester City 2022-23 LeipzigGetty

WHAT NEXT FOR HAALAND? After a spectacular performance in the Champions League, Haaland and City will shift their focus to an FA Cup quarter-final fixture against Burnley on Saturday.