Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is sticking by his remarks aimed at the support, or lack thereof, from the City supporters.
In their Champions League match against RB Leipzig, the attendance was a little over 38,000 in a stadium with the capacity to seat approximately 55,000. With around 17,000 empty seats, the Catalan manager spoke his mind following the match.
Guardiola said his team would need more support in their next match against Southampton.
The Manchester City boss does not feel he said anything out of line
Guardiola’s remarks prompted a response from the general secretary of City’s official supporters’ club Kevin Parker.
"“[What he said] did surprise me,” Parker said. “I’m not sure what that’s got to do with him. He doesn’t understand the difficulties that some people might have getting to a game at the Etihad on a Wednesday evening at 8pm.“They’ve got kids to think of, they might not be able to afford it, [and] there are still some Covid issues about. I don’t see why he comments on it.”Source: Sky Sports"
Parker also said Guardiola is the best coach in the world and perhaps he should stick to that.
Pep was asked about those comments and stated he will not apologize for what he said.
"“Did I say after the game against Leipzig that I was disappointed because the stadium was not full?” Pep said. “Interpretation is interpretation. I’m not going to apologize for what I said. I’m surprised about what happened with this man.“It’s not the first time in my career I’ve said it; the same [when in charge] at Barcelona and Bayern Munich. You play a tough Champions League game, knowing that you have another in three days and that Southampton have had all week to prepare.”Source: The Guardian"
He reiterated that he was not going to apologize because he was being honest. With five years at Manchester City, if people cannot understand his behavior it is because they don’t want to and want to put words in his mouth.
An irritated Guardiola said he only asked for more support as they only have three days to prepare for the match while Southampton have had all week. He concluded by saying if he has a problem with the fans, then he’ll step aside.
There are a variety of reasons why the City supporters may have not shown up to the 6-3 against Leipzig but this is not a rare occurrence. Since Manchester City have become a fixture in the European competition, the attendance, or lack thereof, has always been an issue.
In 2019, the club entered into a partnership with an agency that posted a message on a social media agency called “The Tribe” calling on social media influencers to attend Champions League stadiums to boost attendance figures. When it became public, the club denied the rumors and threatened to cut ties with the company.
A war of words between the manager and supporters is the last thing City wants, or needs. The match against Southampton now has an added element as everyone will be interested to see the reception for Guardiola following his initial remarks and his decision to stand by them.