Manchester City s Croatian midfielder #08 Mateo Kovacic (L), Manchester City s Norwegian striker #09 Erling Haaland (2L) appeal to English referee Simon Hooper during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, northwest England, on December 3, 2023. AFP
The City striker was incensed after the official failed to play an 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", which is offensive slang.
Manager Pep Guardiola was not aware of Haaland's social media post when he spoke to reporters after the game but, referring to Haaland's on-field reaction, admitted he could understand the player's anger.
"It's normal," said the City boss. "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."
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