Pep Guardiola told Erling Haaland not to be so “generous” after the Norwegian handed over penalty duties to Ilkay Gundogan in Manchester City’s 2-1 win over Leeds on Saturday.
City appeared to be cruising to victory, that took them four points clear at the top of the Premier League, thanks to Gundogan’s first-half double.
But the German hit the post when handed the chance to seal his hat-trick and within a minute Rodrigo pulled a goal back to set up a nervy finale for the defending champions.
“The game is not over. It shows how nice and generous Erling is. If it is 4-0 with 10 minutes left, OK. But at 2-0? Erling is the best penalty taker right now so he has to take it,” said Guardiola.
“If Gundo scores everyone is ‘OK, hat-trick, well done’. But a taker is a taker. At 2-0, this is a business, not a situation where we can forget it.”
The decision to hand off responsibility rounded off a rare poor day for Haaland, who missed a number of chances to add to his 51 goals in all competitions this season.
City’s far superior goal difference over Arsenal means Guardiola’s men now likely need a maximum of eight points from their last four games to claim a fifth league title in six seasons.
Sam Allardyce’s return to the dugout had no immediate impact in reviving Leeds’ fortunes as they remain outside the relegation zone only on goal difference.
The former England boss was quickly teased with chants of “you’re getting sacked in the morning” as the visitors failed to offer any resistance to wave upon wave of City attack early on.
But he took heart by the manner in which his side finished the game.
“Second-half we sorted it out, and we got on the front foot to try and challenge them,” said Allardyce.