Man Utd handed Real Betis tie after beating Barca, Juventus meet Freiburg and Arsenal play Sporting

Pep Guardiola has dismissed criticism of Erling Haaland, insisting it’s the team’s fault if the striker struggles to influence a game.

After scoring an incredible 32 goals in 32 games for Manchester City this season, Haaland failed to score in draws against Nottingham Forest and RB Leipzig last week. He had just 22 touches in Germany’s Champions League round of 16 first leg, the lowest number by a player for either side to complete 90 minutes.

Ahead of City’s Premier League trip to Bournemouth, Guardiola said it was up to the rest of the team to find their star striker.

“It’s our fault, Erling has impressed us all season,” he told reporters.

“I don’t need numbers or metrics, I know immediately after the game who was involved and who wasn’t.

“Yes, of course, that depends on us. We still have to search for him a bit.”

The City boss was unsure about the fitness of the trio of Aymeric Laporte, John Stones and Kevin De Bruyne, although the latter could potentially be fit for Saturday’s game on the south coast with the two defenders unlikely.

Guardiola also explained his decision not to make substitutions in Wednesday’s 1-1 draw in Leipzig, hinting that at one point he had only considered Gvardiol for Josko’s equalizer to change his mind.

In doing so, City became the first team not to make any substitutions in a Champions League game since Manchester United played Juventus in October 2018.

“I’m not worried [about squad depth]Kevin wasn’t there, Aymeric, John” added Guardiola.

“In the second half I wanted to change something, maybe Phil [Foden] or Julian [Alvarez] in a position close to Erling to be more aggressive but after we conceded the goal we were good.

“If the situation is going more or less well I don’t like changing things normally, if I don’t like what I see I will do it, but I don’t like changing things [for the sake of it].”

City are two points behind Arsenal in the Premier League title race after playing a game more and just three ahead of United.

Guardiola, a four-time Premier League winner, took the opportunity to recall he had been told English football would be more competitive than his previous jobs at Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

“People told me when I arrived that Britain is different from Spain and Germany,” he said. “Happily [for me]for most years it was just a pair Man Utd handed Real Betis tie after beating Barca, Juventus meet Freiburg and Arsenal play Sporting race.

“Now there’s finally more.”

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