17 September, 2021
Pep Guardiola has said he will not apologize for calling on more Manchester City supporters to attend Saturday’s Premier League game at home against Southampton.
Over 38,000 fans attended City’s Champions League opener against RB Leipzig at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night, around 17,000 short from their full capacity, with the Spanish head coach stating post-match that the club “need” more fans to attend this weekend’s match.
In light of Guardiola’s comments, the general secretary of City’s official supporters’ club, Kevin Parker, believes that the former Barcelona manager “doesn’t understand the difficulties” supporters currently face and that he should ‘stick to coaching’ rather than voicing his concerns about the club’s attendance.
Speaking to the press ahead of their encounter against the Saints on Saturday, Guadiola stands by what he said on Wednesday night and “will not apologise” to Parker.
“Did I say after the game that I was disappointed that the stadium was not full? An interpretation is an interpretation. I am not going to apologise for what I said,” Guardiola told the press on Friday afternoon.
“It’s not the first time I said in my career, I said at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, when we played a tough game like Leipzig was and play three games later I know how difficult it is, to ask for us all to [attend] again on Saturday. 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 cause we need the support.
“I am entirely grateful for the support that we had against Leipzig. I always say if guys want to come we will be incredibly grateful because I know how difficult the game will be and I know we need our people. I never sit here and ask why people don’t come? If you don’t come then don’t. I will not apologise to him [Kevin Parker].”
Man City have had higher attendances for their opening two Premier League matches so far this campaign, with 51,437 supporters attending their first game against Norwich City, before 52,276 fans watched on against Arsenal.