Gary Lineker not buying Pep Guardiola excuse for angry Erling Haaland reaction | Football

Erling Haaland was animated as he came off during Manchester City’s win (Picture: Getty)

Gary Lineker doesn’t buy Pep Guardiola’s excuse for Erling Haaland’s angry reaction to being subbed off during Manchester City’s victory over Wolves.

Haaland scored four goals as Man City thumped Wolves 5-1 at the Etihad Stadium to move to within one point of Premier League title rivals Arsenal.

The Norway striker netted a first-half hat-trick and added a fourth shortly after the break but was denied the chance to do more damage when he was taken off with 10 minutes remaining.

An animated Haaland hugged his replacement, Julian Alvarez, before exchanging some words with Guardiola on the touchline. He then sulked down onto the bench, chucking his shinpads to the ground while mouthing to himself.

In his post-match press conference, Guardiola claimed Haaland was ‘frustrated with the referee’ after getting some rough treatment from Wolves defender Max Kilman.

‘He’s a little bit frustrated, but I understand,’ Guardiola said when asked about Haaland’s reaction to being subbed off.

‘He was frustrated with the referee [Craig Pawson]. With the long balls sometimes they push him and he is pulled. Happy for his performance and his exceptional goals, really pleased for him.’

Man City celebrate scoring against Wolves

Haaland scored four goals as Man City thumped Wolves (Picture: Getty)

But ex-England striker Lineker believes Guardiola was attempting to downplay the incident and says Haaland was more than likely frustrated with his manager for being taken off.

‘Even though Pep said that wasn’t what it was, I think he didn’t want to come off,’ Lineker said on BBC’s Match of the Day.

Arsenal legend Ian Wright added: ‘I think he wanted to score five!’

Haaland missed almost two months of the season with a foot injury but has still scored 25 goals in 28 Premier League games.

‘Erling is back to business,’ Guardiola said after Man City continued their quest for a record fourth successive Premier League title.

‘Penalties are a guarantee but the second [header] and fourth [curler] were unbelievable. To come back to his best form, he needs time.’

Haaland, meanwhile, added: ‘Not bad – 25 goals this season, thanks for that. We keep going. I’ve got a not-too-bad manager who pushes me and look at the players around me.

‘Without them it would not be possible. Look ahead, look to the next one – four finals left for the season [including the FA Cup final]. We’re going to go for it and focus on Fulham.

‘First of all it’s about winning the games but of course you want to have the best possible goal difference. Let’s not think about that – think about Fulham.’

Man City remain one point behind Arsenal – who beat Bournemouth earlier in the day – but will leapfrog Mikel Arteta’s side if they win their game in hand.

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