Guardiola defends his plea for ‘more fans’ against Manchester City

For Pep Guardiola, it was a rallying cry for what he expected to be a tough match. For some…

For Pep Guardiola, it was a rallying cry for what he expected to be a tough match.

For some Manchester City fans, it was an ill-timed comment questioning the loyalty of the club’s fan base.

A standoff between the respected City manager and a section of the side’s supporters erupted after Guardiola pleaded for ‘more people’ to attend City’s Premier League game at home against Southampton on Saturday – three days after a tough 6-3 win over RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Saturday. Etihad Stadium.

The attendance against Leipzig was 38,062. Etihad Airways has a capacity of about 55,000.

One of those unhappy was Guardiola’s comments, who accused the Spaniard of failing to understand the difficulties of attending matches on a midweek evening and playing into the hands of the opposition’s fans who are often present at the club. City taunted for not having big crowds at some matches.

“He’s the best coach in the world ever, but in the nicest way possible, I think maybe he should stick with that,” said Parker, who called Guardiola’s comments “disappointing and unjustified.”

Guardiola responded to Parker on Friday at a press conference ahead of the Southampton game, saying he “certainly wouldn’t” apologize for his comments and that there had been a “misunderstanding”.

“Don’t misunderstand me or put words in my mouth that I didn’t say,” Guardiola said. “That’s what I don’t like. I’ll never be a problem for my fans. If I have a problem for my fans, I’ll just step aside. Not a problem for me.”

Guardiola said he saw his players looking ‘tired’ in the locker room after the all-out game against Leipzig and quickly realized they needed fans to stand behind them against Southampton, given the quick turnaround of matches and the stressful Southampton game. and energetic style.

“When you play in the Champions League, it takes a lot of physical fitness, mentality, when (Southampton) has a long week to prepare for the game,” Guardiola said. “That’s why we need all of us together – the players, the fans, everyone, to help us do our best. I know exactly our fans will be there tomorrow to give support, and I hope Mr. Parker comes to watch us.”

Mr. Guardiola added that Parker should “review his comments”.

City have struggled to fill the Etihad for some home games in the Champions League, especially in the first match of the group stage of each season. This has resulted in some rival fans using the nickname “Dump”.

There are a few reasons why European attendance has fallen – some fans have resented the tournament’s organiser, UEFA, for what they see as the unfair sanctions that have been imposed on City in the Champions League or have affected them; City participates in matches in a variety of competitions that are chosen and chosen by the fans; the epidemic affecting fans’ finances; A digital ticketing system that does not allow fans to transfer tickets to others if they cannot attend a midweek match.

The fan bases of City’s main rivals in English football, including Manchester United and Liverpool, are much larger globally.

“We are who we are. We are proud of who we are,” Guardiola said. “I know the history, I learned the history of this club when it was in the lower division, and what it means to travel and follow the team. I respect her a lot.”

City had almost exploited fans in their first two home games of the Premier League season – a 5-0 victory over Norwich and Arsenal.

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