Guardiola likens Haaland to Johan Cruyff & Zlatan Ibrahimovic after winner against Dortmund

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By Martin Graham | 15th Sep 2022

Pep Guardiola has hailed Erling Haaland once again after the forward bagged a winner against his former side Borussia Dortmund.

The City boss says the Norwegian is similar to Johan Cruyff and Zlatan Ibrahimovic after an acrobatic finish in the 84th minute to seal the win for the Manchester outfit.

That strike was Haaland’s 13th goal in just eight games since his summer move to the Etihad Stadium.

Guardiola said the goal invoked memories of Cruyff and Ibrahimovic — whom the City manager sarcastically described as a “dear friend”, after a famous misunderstanding the pair during their time together at Barcelona.

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Haaland gets more praise

It was far from a perfect performance from Manchester City but once again, Haaland proved to be the difference and this time, he did it in style.

“Maybe the people who know me know the influence Johan Cruyff had on my life as a person, a mentor and years ago he scored an incredible goal in Camp Nou for Barcelona against Atletico Madrid,” Guardiola said after the game.

“The moment Erling scored I thought it was quite, quite similar. I remember my dear friend Ibrahimovic, who has this ability to put the leg on the roof, and Erling is quite similar in that.

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“I think it is his nature, he is elastic, he is flexible and after has the ability to make contact and put the ball in the net. I think his mum and dad give him that flexibility.”

At half time, City had not registered a single shot on target and fell behind to Borussia Dortmund after Jude Bellingham broke the deadlock shortly after the restart.

John Stones, who had to feature at right-back, grabbed the equalizer in surprising fashion, after a 20-yard rocket found its way into the net on the 80-minute mark before Haaland completed the turnaround against his former side four minutes later.

Guardiola admitted he was not pleased with a good amount of his team’s performance.

“We were not in the right tempo,” Guardiola added. “The goal from John Stones. In the first half John Stones does not shoot, but in that moment we were in the right rhythm.

“John was in the right rhythm and makes an exceptional goal. We cannot make the 60 or 65 minutes we play, we are a different team. It is not about winning or losing, every day you have to perform well. It is a good lesson.”

Haaland continues to slience critics

With that strike, Haaland is making a mockery of those who claimed he would struggle at Manchester City, with the Norwegian already off to a blistering start in no time. It is a question of when will he stop scoring more than if he can be stopped at all.

Martin Graham is an MFF sports writer

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