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PEP GUARDIOLA has refused to apologise after calling for more supporters to attend Manchester City’s Premier League clash against Southampton today.
The City manager irritated some fans this week as he called for a bigger crowd than the 38,062 who watched Wednesday’s Champions League victory over RB Leipzig.
Kevin Parker, general secretary of City’s official supporters’ club, labelled the remarks “disappointing and uncalled for” as the loyalty of fans was questioned in drawing attention to the number of empty seats.
Parker added that Guardiola should be more considerate of the reasons why people are unable to attend certain games.
Guardiola, however, insisted that this was not the point he was making and felt his comments had been widely misinterpreted. He said he was speaking more generally about the benefits of playing inside a full house for a tough game.
Speaking at a press conference, Guardiola said: “Did I say after the game against Leipzig that I was disappointed because the stadium was not full?
“An interpretation is interpretation. I’m not going to apologise for what I said. I’m surprised about what happened with this man [Parker].
“I made an approach to do something together again on Saturday at 3pm. What I said was we would love, and need, their support. Whether it’s 10,000 people, 40,000 or 50,000 — it doesn’t matter how many people come. We need their support.
“After five seasons, if the people can’t understand my behaviour about fans it is because they want to misunderstand exactly what I said. I’m not going to apologise for one second for what I said because I was honest.
“In the last year and a half, two seasons, we have unfortunately done it without them, and I was incredibly grateful for the support that we had the last game against Leipzig.
“If you want to join us, we will be incredibly happy if you come to see the next game against Southampton because I know how difficult [the game] will be.
“I’d prefer to be with my people than without my people, but if they don’t come for any reason then it’s perfect. I never have the words to say: ‘Why didn’t you come?’”
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