Pep Guardiola fires back at Roy Keane after he likens Erling Haaland to ‘a League Two player’

It isn't the first time the two have had a disagreement.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 3rd April 2024

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has fired back at Premier League legend Roy Keane after he likened to star striker Erling Haaland a League Two-level player.

A pretty wild claim, to say the least, so it’s no surprise Pep had plenty to say in response.

The comment came about after the former Manchester United and Republic of Ireland midfielder was left unimpressed by Haaland’s all-round play during his performance against Arsenal – a game that could have proved to be a decisive date in the title race but ended up being a bit of a damp squib.

Keane, 52, qualified that while the Norwegian talent in front of goal is “the best in the world” and will no doubt keep improving overall, he also believes that his “general play, and not just [in that game] is so poor”, adding that he’s “almost like a League Two player” in his link-up ability.

Big words, to say the least, Roy – and not ones that were appreciated by Guardiola, who clearly felt he had to come out and defend his number nine following the remarks.


Clearly not in the mood for pundits and journalists in both his post-match interviews and pre-match presser ahead of City’s next game against Aston Villa – his very sarcastic response to a reporter’s question about Jack Grealish was evidence of that – Pep decided to fire back with a dig of his own.

When asked what he made of the admittedly bold comments, the 52-year-old Catalan coach began by saying “I don’t agree with him, absolutely not”, before quipping: “It’s like [if] I said ‘He’s a manager for the second or third league’ – I don’t think so”.


It isn’t the first time the two have butted heads after Keane also suggested that Pep was “doing it for show” when he began coaching Haaland on the pitch after the full-time whistle in their derby victory at Old Trafford earlier this season. He wasn’t having any of it this time either.

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The Spaniard went on to insist that the 23-year-old is “the best striker in the world” and was instrumental in helping his squad manage their remarkable achievement last season.

He also reiterated that Haaland was not the reason his side didn’t create enough chances against Arsenal over the Easter bank holiday weekend, arguing that they simply need “more presence in the final third”, noting that it was a mix of missed chances, lack of service and then decisions from himself.


Marketed as what could have been one of the games of the season, the home team ended up seeing out a 0-0 draw to leave just three points separating Liverpool at the top, Arsenal in second and the Blues in third. It really does look like things are going to go right down to the wire.

You can watch Pep Guardiola’s pre-match press conference in full down below:

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Featured Images — Sky Sports (via YouTube)/Patryk Antkiewicz (via Flickr)