Guardiola continues war of words with Man City fans with "step aside" warning

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.

After the Champions League win over RB Leipzig, Guardiola called for more supporters to come to the match on Saturday as the players would be tired.

There were 38,062 fans inside the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday to watch City win their European opener 6-3, but the stadium has a capacity of 55,000.

However, fans have reacted negatively to Guardiola's pleas for them to attend and he has now said he will not apologise for what he said.

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. I don't see why he comments 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. What I said was we need the support, with 10,000, 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 – it doesn't matter how many people come – but I invite them to come and enjoy the game because we need the support.

"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.

"In the last year and a half we have been without them and I am entirely grateful for the support that we had against Leipzig, away, at home.

"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 who we are, we are proud of who we are. I know the history, I've learned the history of this club from the lower divisions, what it means to travel and follow the club. I respect that.

"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 a big, big problem… I will never be a problem for my fans, never ever.

"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."

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