Pep Guardiola has continued his war of words with the Manchester City supporters by making a “step aside” warning in his press conference before their match against Southampton.
Guardiola appealed for more supporters to attend the match against Southampton on Saturday after the Champions League victory over RB Leipzig.
On Wednesday, 38,062 people gathered at the Etihad Stadium to see City win their European opener by 6-3. However, the stadium can hold 55,000.
Guardiola’s appeals to fans to come to the Etihad Stadium to see City win their European opener 6-3 have been met with negative reactions. He has since said that he will not apologize for his comments.
The general secretary of the official supporters’ club, Kevin Parker was left surprised by Guardiola’s statement and commented on the incident by saying: “[What he said] did surprise me. I’m not sure what that’s got to do with him. He doesn’t understand the difficulties that some people might have getting to a game at the Etihad on a Wednesday evening at 8pm.
“They’ve got kids to think of, they might not be able to afford it, [and] there are still some Covid issues about. It’s not clear why Guardiola would comment on it.”
Guardiola is not yet ready to issue an apology to the fans, though, and discussed the feud ahead of this weekend’s match in his press conference.
“An interpretation is an interpretation. I am not going to apologise for what I said because I didn’t say it wrong,” he said.
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“I’m surprised about what happened with this man [Parker]. It’s not the first time I said in my career – I said it at Barcelona and Bayern and here. When we played a tough game like Leipzig and play three games later with a lack of preparation (against Southampton) I know how difficult it is, to ask for us all to do it again on Saturday again.
“I made an approach to do something together again the next Saturday at 3pm. I stated that we need support with 10,000, 35,000, 40,000, and 50,000 – it doesn’t matter how many people attend – but I encourage them to come along and enjoy the game, because we need it.
“If after five seasons people cannot understand my behaviour it’s because they want to misunderstand exactly what I said. I’m not going to apologise for one second, because I was honest.
“We have not had them for over a year and a quarter and I am grateful for their support against Leipzig at home and away.
“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 [Parker].”
The Spanish boss did not stop there, though, and went on to threaten to ‘step aside’ if he is a problem for the supporters.
“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,” he added.
“I never sit here and ask why people don’t come. If you can’t come then don’t.
“This is a big mistake. We are proud of who and what we are. I am familiar with the history. I have learned from lower divisions the history of the club, as well as the meaning of travel and following the club. That is what I value.
“I don’t want to be like United, Liverpool, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, like Madrid or like all the big clubs. We are who we are. I like it.
“Don’t put some words in my mouth that I didn’t say. And if I’m an enormous problem… Never will I be a problem to my fans.
“If I’m a problem for my fans I will make a step aside, it’s not a problem for me. But I am one of them. Since day one I tried to do my best, that’s for sure.”