Manchester City are four points clear at the top of the Premiership after a 2-1 win over Leeds, despite their manager expressing his dissatisfaction with Gundogan’s penalty miss.
Erling Haaland and skipper Ilkay Gundogan were the players on the receiving end after the penalty miss allowed Sam Allardyce’s side to pull a goal back 58 seconds later.
“Erling is the best penalty taker right now so he has to take it. I want the player who is the taker, because they have more routine and a specialism. He has maybe taken 10 or 11 penalties and he had the feeling – Gundogan does not have that right now.’’ Pep said after the game.
“I admire the fact Gundogan wanted the responsibility to take the penalty – that is the best value in a player – but normally the taker is the taker, and Erling had to take it because he is our specialist.
“Today Erling could have scored two or three goals. He played incredibly well, in his movement and how he fought for us. I like to praise him when he does not score.
“If Gundogan scores the penalty 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 cannot forget it.”
Manchester City was in cruise control in the first half courtesy of a Gundogan’s double and seemed to add to the tally before Leeds looked alive in the second half.
Leading 2-0 with six minutes to go, City was cruising towards a 10th-successive victory and were handed a chance to wrap up the points when Phil Foden was fouled in the box.
Haaland handed the ball to Gundogan, who was on a hat-trick after scoring both of those earlier goals but his effort hit the post, and 58 seconds later Leeds went up the other end to make it 2-1.
The decision did not go down well with his manager, who made it clear to both players that he had wanted Haaland to take the penalty.
First he [Guardiola] showed to Erling that he was quite mad about that and then also he had a go at me,” Gundogan explained. “It is what it is in the end.
“The moment Erling grabbed the ball, I was sure he was going to take it but he looked out for me. I checked with him a few times to make sure he was sure. He was certain to hand the ball to me. I was confident to score. I can’t even remember if the keeper saved it or it was the post?
“We should have scored a third. This is sometimes how it is that they go on the counter and score. Things can change, momentum can shift. But we dealt quite well with it and deserved the three points.”
The German maestro however made history by becoming the only player to have 192 touches in the Premier League since Feb 2020.