Guardiola explains his reaction to Haaland’s 95th-minute winner – ‘Everyone was exceptional’

Guardiola explains his reaction to Haaland’s 95th-minute winner – ‘Everyone was exceptional’
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Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola hailed his “exceptional” players after they beat Fulham 2-1 – despite playing with ten men for 65 minutes.

Joao Cancelo was sent-off as Andreas Perieira’s penalty equalised a Julian Alvarez goal. Erling Haaland then gave City the win with a penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage time – a result which sees Guardiola’s men leapfrog Arsenal at the top.

There was late drama in the match as Erling Haaland had a goal disallowed, but the striker was still able to find the back of the net with a penalty in front of the euphoric home fans at the Etihad Stadium, scoring his 18th goal of the Premier League season.

“Everyone was exceptional,” said Guardiola after the match.”For 65 minutes against Fulham, to play the way we played was the moment of my period here in Manchester by far – then scoring at the end and celebrating with our people.

“We didn’t win the Premier League today, of course, but these moments make sense of our jobs, all of us, to see the faces of the crowd when we walked around the pitch afterwards.

“We played in the right tempo at 10 versus 11,” he said, referring to Joao Cancelo’s sending-off in the first half. “You cannot attack so quick because they will attack quicker.

“All the players in the middle were amazing – Bernardo Silva, Ilkay Gundogan, Rodri and especially Kevin de Bruyne.”

De Bruyne was the one who won the foul that led to the penalty, as the Belgian midfielder was clipped by Fulham’s Antonee Robinson.

“I have said many times recently that Kevin is still not at his best, but the games against Leicester and now here, it was completely the opposite,” continued Guardiola.

Haaland may have made the penalty look easy, but he claimed afterwards that he was nervous before taking the shot: “A penalty in the last minute? Of course, I would be nervous. But it was about getting through the situation in the proper way, and I did that. It was a fantastic feeling to score.

“I love it. I have been injured for a week, and it was really important for us to win. I don’t care how it went in, it is about it going in. It was an amazing feeling.”

Guardiola also said that he understood why Haaland was nervous about his penalty, saying: “It was a long time before he could put the ball down and take the penalty.

“It means you can think a lot. Erling has also had two or three weeks with no training, you can lose your rhythm and your tempo. So, the penalty was not the best penalty I have ever seen in my life, but I would say he hit it strong.”

Up next, Manchester City will play Chelsea in the third round of the Carabao Cup, while Fulham will look to forget their disappointing loss against Manchester United in the Premier League

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