Pep Guardiola refused to apologise for his comments about Manchester City’s support in midweek.
The City manager invited the club’s fans to turn up in their droves for Saturday’s clash with Southampton after recording a 6-3 victory over RB Leipzig in front of 38,062 at the Etihad Stadium.
Kevin Parker, general secretary of City’s supporters’ club, criticised Guardiola for being out of touch but the Catalan stood his ground. Guardiola addressed Parker, who has been a season ticket holder at the club since 1973, during his pre-match press conference.
‘Mr Parker should review the comments. I will not apologise,’ Guardiola said.
‘Did I say after the game that I was disappointed because the stadium was not full? Interpretation is interpretation. I’m not going to apologise. I am surprised at what has happened [since].
‘When you play in the Champions League it is so tough, knowing that Southampton have had all week to prepare. I make an approach to do something together again.
‘What I said is we would love the support, we need the support – 40,000 or 50,000 people
"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
‘We need their support. I was incredibly grateful for the support we had. If you want to join us, we’ll be incredibly happy if you come.
‘I prefer to be with my people than without. If they don’t come then it’s perfect. If you want to come, then it’s a pleasure.
‘I’ve never had a problem with the fans. I am one of them. I try to do my best. I like to play in the Etihad with my fans. I know what my intention was.’
He also added: ‘Our fans will be there tomorrow. Hopefully Mr Parker will be there to watch us.’
Guardiola also confirmed that both John Stones and Aymeric Laporte will remain sidelined this weekend.