Pep Guardiola's call for more home fans 'uncalled for', says supporters group

A leading Manchester City supporters group says manager Pep Guardiola’s call for more fans to attend their Premier League game with Southampton is “disappointing and uncalled for”.

After Wednesday’s Champions League win over RB Leipzig, Guardiola said he “would like more people” on Saturday.

Kevin Parker, general secretary of City’s official supporters’ club, said the comments were “frustrating”.

“It’s not factual, our attendances are generally excellent,” he added.

“He [Guardiola] doesn’t understand the difficulties that some people might have getting to a game on a Wednesday evening at 8pm.”

Attendances for City’s Champions League games at home have tended to be lower than those for Premier League games.

The Etihad Stadium capacity is about 55,000 and there was a crowd of 38,062 against RB Leipzig, with the away section virtually empty.

City averaged 54,219 during the 2019-20 Premier League season and more than 51,000 attended their first two league games at home this term.

“It does also play into the hands of supporters from other teams who want to take every opportunity to have a go at City for what they think are the poor attendances,” Parker said.

“People refer to the Etihad as the ‘Emptyhad’. It’s a little bit of fun by the opposition supporters but there’s no justification for it.

“He [Guardiola] is absolutely the best coach in the world but, in the nicest possible way, I think maybe he should stick to that.”

Original article 16.09.21 on the BBC Sport website

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