Man City boss Pep Guardiola has insisted that he will not apologize for his comments, urging more supporters to attend games at the Etihad Stadium. The Catalan also doubled down on his remarks and argued that they had been misinterpreted.
Following Man City’s UCL matchday 1 win over RB Leipzig on Wednesday, Guardiola appeared to aim criticism towards the attendance at the Etihad Stadium that night. The attendance at the Etihad on Wednesday was reported to be 38,062, while the stadium capacity is able to host just over 55,000.
He said, “I would like to see more people come to the next game (Southampton) on Saturday.” Just a few hours after Guardiola’s plea, Man City fans expressed their annoyance. A number of City fans took to social media and claimed that Guardiola did not fully understand the trials and tribulations of modern football supporters.
“I’d like more people to come on Saturday, we need the people.”
“I invite all our people to come Saturday, 3 pm, to watch the game.”
A rallying cry from Pep Guardiola… pic.twitter.com/TJFd2zDHN4
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 16, 2021
The backlash from the City supporters towards their manager grabbed headlines. A leading Man City supporters group also labeled Guardiola’s comments “disappointing and uncalled for”. Some also hit out at the City boss for not understanding that most fans might find it difficult to attend games on a Wednesday night as they have families.
However, Guardiola has refused to apologize for his comments. The 50-year-old also admitted that his comments were misinterpreted and he was, in fact, grateful for the supporters who attended Man City’s game against Leipzig.
While speaking to reporters ahead of Man City’s PL game ahead of Southampton, Guardiola said, “This is a problem but I’m here to defend what I said. I make mistakes and I’m here to say I apologise but in that case, I will not apologise because I know exactly what my intentions were – to be part of something together.”
He added, “I know who we are and I like the fans that we have, I am entirely grateful for the support that we had against Leipzig,”
Pep Guardiola concluded by stating that he would be open to “step aside” if he was causing a rift among the fans. “I never sit here and ask why people don’t come. If you can’t come then don’t. If it’s a problem for fans, I will step aside. From day one, I do my best. I like to play at the Etihad with my fans… my intentions are to be part of something, to do it together.” he explained.