Pep Guardiola hits back at title doubters – unsure on Haaland return

Manchester City came from behind to defeat Luton 2-1 and register their first PL win in a month. City were without Erling Haaland and Pep Guardiola is unsure when the striker will be fit again.

The manager has admitted that the way his players came back from the ‘punch’ of going a goal down to beat Luton shows the character that defines the big teams in the Premier League.

Pep Guardiola also fired a warning to all of Manchester City’s doubters, declaring his team are ready to prove them wrong.

Sunday’s win was an important one for Guardiola and his players who were on a run of four games without a win after being swept aside by Aston Villa in midweek in an unusually timid performance.

The treble winners played at Kenilworth Road without striker Haaland due to a bone injury in his foot.

City travel to Red Star Belgrade in midweek for a dead rubber Champions League match before hosting bottom side Crystal Palace on Saturday in their final Premier League game before flying to Saudi Arabia for the Club World Cup.

When asked how long Haaland would be out for, Guardiola was unsure:

“A stress bone. Just stress. Don’t ask if it’s a broken foot. He wasn’t ready today, I don’t think so for Crystal Palace. Hopefully he can be ready in Saudi Arabia. Week by week will dictate how he feels.

“The day after Aston Villa he couldn’t walk, then the next day he was much better. He said I can walk and don’t have pain. The doctor said we have to wait, week by week, day by day.

“Maybe Crystal Palace he will be ready, I don’t think so. We will see.”

City went down 1-0 away to Aston Villa on Wednesday having previously dropped points in draws with Tottenham, Liverpool and Chelsea.

Guardiola said his players did not allow the prospect of losing for the second time in a week and the performance showed his team still have the belief to challenge for top honours this season.

He said on Sky Sports:
“The way we have been playing this season has been good in most of the games. I try to analyse that, but we need Bernardo to put the ball in the goal – we needed it.

“They fought like we’ve always done. It was important for belief. People have said it’s over but we want to make them wrong and to believe the season is not over. Will we be there? It depends on us and how we perform.

“He later added in his press conference: “They don’t need to prove what they are capable of, extraordinary group of players. But in general it’s normal. City is not the same, it’s over. Let them prove us wrong. Let’s prove that we want to be there.”



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