Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne dropped as Guardiola explains Man City calls | Football | Sport

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola claims that he dropped Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne to the bench for their clash with Aston Villa due to the hectic schedule. Haaland has come under fire for not scoring in his last three matches for City.

Roy Keane compared the Norwegian to a League Two striker but Guardiola insists his decision to remove Haaland from the starting XI was not form related.

“In two and a half days we have another game, at 12.30pm,” Guardiola said. “All the teams at the top have big squads, good squads. We have it and that is the position we decided for this line-up and this tough opponent.”

Haaland was one of four changes Guardiola made to his starting XI. Mateo Kovacic and Kevin De Bruyne were also dropped to the bench while Nathan Ake missed out on tje squad through injury.

In came Jack Grealish, Jeremy Doku, Julian Alvarez and Rico Lewis.

Meanwhile, Former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson told BBC Radio 5 Live: “If Erling Haaland had scored at the weekend and there hadn’t been comments made about his general performance, then him being on the bench tonight would have been classed as Pep Guardiola rotating his squad. We have also seen Kevin de Bruyne on the bench occasionally this season

“They have Crystal Palace at the weekend and Real Madrid next week in the Champions League.

“But given the comments around Haaland this week it seems that Pep is doing what he thinks is best for the team. I’m the manager, I’m leaving him out, that is what I’m going to do.”

TNT Sports pundit Joleon Lescott feels Liverpool are in the driving seat to win the Premier League title following their goalless draw at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

He said: “Definitely. In a sense it’s gone to Liverpool’s hands, for them to have to lose a game now, not just drop points. From a City perspective, I don’t see that. I think they have a slightly tougher run-in potentially, but I think they get the job done because they have been in a similar position like this before. Yes, you don’t want Manchester City chasing you, but overall I believe, and it pains me to say it, that Liverpool get the job done.”

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