Pep Guardiola hits back at Man City supporters chief over attendance call-out: ‘I will not apologise’
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has caused quite a stir online on Friday, after refusing to back down on his calls for improved fan attendance at the club’s fixtures.
The Sky Blues were of course back in continental action this past Wednesday.
Guardiola and co. welcomed Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig to Manchester, for the respective clubs’ Champions League group stage opener.
And when all was said and done at the Etihad, it was the hosts who emerged on the right side of a 9-goal thriller, to get their European campaign up and running in style.
“Class from the £100m man!”
Jack Grealish has his first Champions League goal, and it’s a little bit special 🤩#UCL pic.twitter.com/89YZ2jbYsp
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) September 15, 2021
The drama on the pitch on Wednesday, though, soon spilled over into the post-match media sessions.
Speaking on the back of the action coming to a close, Pep Guardiola urged for greater fan attendance at City’s meeting with Southampton this weekend, after just a 38,062-strong crowd attended the Etihad two nights ago.
Such comments, in turn, evidently irked the Citizens’ official supporters’ club, with Kevin Parker, general secretary of the organisation, having not been shy in taking aim at the club’s boss on Thursday, insisting that:
‘He doesn’t understand the difficulties that some people might have getting to a game at the Etihad on a Wednesday evening at 8pm.’
‘He’s absolutely the best coach in the world but, in the nicest possible way, I think maybe he should stick to that.’
‘Put words in my mouth’
And, as outlined above, this afternoon, Guardiola has opted to return fire.
Speaking in his pre-Southampton press conference, the City boss was inevitably drawn on Parker’s thinly-veiled jibe to ‘stick to’ coaching, and hit back by assuring that he does not intend to issue an apology to either the Sky Blues’ supporters, or Parker himself:
‘I am not going to apologise for what I said. What I said was we need the support. It doesn’t matter how many people come but I invite them to come and enjoy the game because we need the support.’
‘Always I’ve said, guys if you want to join us I will be incredibly happy, because I know how difficult it will be. I prefer to be with my people than without my people. But if they don’t come for any reason it’s perfect.’
‘I never say ‘Why didn’t you come?’. Mr Parker should review the comments I’ve done the day after, but I will not apologise to him.’
In a message which will no doubt prove altogether concerning for those of a City persuasion, Guardiola then went on to confirm that, should a genuine issue arise between he and the club’s supporters, the Spaniard will not hesitate to ‘step aside’:
‘I know the history. I learned the history of this club, what it means to travel and follow this team. I don’t want to be like United, Liverpool, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Madrid, like all the big clubs, we are who we are.’
‘I like it. To misunderstand and put some words in my mouth I didn’t say, I don’t like it. I will never have a problem with my fans. If I have a problem I will step aside, I am one of them. Since day one I’ve tried to do my best.’
“If I am a problem with my fans, maybe I will step aside.” 😳
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) September 17, 2021
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