EPL

Erling Haaland criticises referee Simon Hooper on social media after City draw

By Sports Desk December 03, 2023

Erling Haaland faces possible disciplinary action after complaining about referee Simon Hooper on social media following Manchester City’s dramatic 3-3 draw with Tottenham.

The City striker was incensed after being denied the opportunity to play advantage in the closing moments of a thrilling Premier League clash at the Etihad Stadium.

Haaland was fouled but quickly got up and played Jack Grealish through on goal only for Hooper to pull play back and award a free-kick.

Haaland was one of several City players to angrily remonstrate with the official and he continued his protests after the game by reposting a clip of the incident on X, formerly Twitter, with the comment “Wtf”.

The PA news agency has contacted the Football Association over the matter.

Manager Pep Guardiola was not aware of Haaland’s social media post when he spoke to reporters after the game but, speaking about Haaland’s on-field reaction, admitted he could understand the player’s anger.

Guardiola said: “It’s normal. His reaction was the same for 10 players. The rules are you cannot talk with the referees or fourth officials, so we should have had 10 players sent off today.

“He’s a little bit disappointed. Even the referee – if he played for Man City today he would be disappointed for that action, that’s for sure.”

Guardiola had tried to temper his criticism, saying in a TV interview he did not want to make a “Mikel Arteta comment”, in reference to the Arsenal manager’s controversial remarks after a game against Newcastle last month.

He added in a press conference: “I make mistakes, the players make mistakes.

“It surprised me because in the moment Erling went down (and) if you whistle in that moment it’s fine.

“But when he stands up and continues and the referee makes that gesture to play on, and after he (Haaland) makes the pass he then stops the game – I don’t want to criticise him.

“On the touchline sometimes I lose my mind and my gestures are not proper but for many years as a manager I’m not a guy, when I’m refreshed, to comment.”

City led 2-1 at half-time thanks to a Phil Foden goal after Son Heung-min had scored at both ends.

Giovani Lo Celso levelled for Spurs and Dejan Kulusevski did likewise in the 90th minute after Jack Grealish looked to have won it for City.

It was the champions’ third successive draw.

Guardiola said: “It’s not the first time we have faced this situation where we are playing good but results don’t come. Always we find a solution but lately the results don’t come and we are struggling.”

For Spurs, the result ended a run of three successive defeats.

Manager Ange Postecoglou said: “City could have blown us away, they certainly had enough chances.

“We were giving the ball away a lot but hung in there.

“The effort the boys put in there in the second half was outstanding. City never got total control of the game and we scored three quality goals, which you have to against a team like that.”

Postecoglou was asked in his press conference if he thought his side may have “got away with one” over the Haaland incident at the end.

“Yes, I guess so mate,” the Australian said.

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