Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has shed light on how Real Madrid managed to shut down Erling Haaland during their Champions League semifinal clash on Tuesday. In a pivotal moment of the match, Haaland found himself in a promising position inside the Real Madrid penalty area. However, his attempt on goal was swiftly denied by David Alaba, who executed a remarkable sliding tackle.
Guardiola acknowledged the challenge Haaland faced throughout the fixture. Via The Athletic:
“Erling (Haaland) was with two very good defenders. It was not easy for him,” he told Movistar Plus. “The spaces between (Eduardo) Camavinga and Carvajal and the center-backs were not occupied by the centre-backs — they were occupied by (Federico) Valverde and Toni (Kroos).
“Normally, when the ball goes to the outside, the centre-back moves, (and) the space is freed up for a one-on-one with the striker, but in this case, it didn’t happen. They (Rudiger and Alaba) were both there and it wasn’t easy for Erling.”
Despite Madrid’s effective defensive approach, sources within the coaching staff denied that there was a specific “anti-Haaland” plan. They emphasized that their tactics were not solely focused on neutralizing one player, stating, “You don’t work just thinking about one player.”
Ultimately, Haaland faced a difficult night against Real Madrid as he struggled to find openings and make a significant impact on the game. The Spanish side’s defensive organization and collective effort limited his influence.
While Real Madrid emerged victorious in that particular encounter, it is clear that Haaland remains a highly talented and dangerous player. As he continues to develop and gain more experience, he will undoubtedly learn from such challenging encounters and find ways to overcome the toughest defensive schemes.
As Manchester City and Haaland’s journey in the Champions League continues next week with the second leg in England, the young Norwegian forward will use these experiences to grow and improve his game further, aiming to become an even more formidable force in future competitions.
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