I feel guilty for Manchester City not putting on a show, says Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola admitted he felt “guilty” after Manchester City could only draw with Southampton, but remained defiant about his demand for more support at the Etihad.

City failed to score for only the second time in 41 home matches, but the fans inside an almost sold-out arena sang Guardiola’s name in the first half. After Wednesday’s 6-3 win over Leipzig, the City manager appealed to supporters to turn up in force for Saints’ visit, and received a blunt response from the general secretary of City’s official fan club.

Kevin Parker said Guardiola should stick to coaching. But Guardiola reiterated the request for Tuesday’s home Carabao Cup tie against Wycombe Wanderers.

“When the game isn’t good I feel bad for them [fans],” Guardiola said. “At the end they come to see a show and want to enjoy it. That’s why I am in this business. So I feel a bit guilty because we didn’t play well.

“[After the draw] everyone asked me the same but I said nothing wrong after Leipzig. I said we played an incredibly tough game and it will be incredibly tough against Southampton. I never complained about how many supporters come or do not come. I have never done that in my life. Of course, I am grateful – even if 85 or 100 people come, that is fine.”

Of the supporters singing his name, he said: “As always for me it doesn’t matter. I don’t run up and down the touchline, I can’t move. What they [his players] have to do is play better and play better for the people who come here to stay with the team they love and make them happy.

“But right now I don’t understand. What I said is: ‘Guys come together to be with us for the next game.’ The same as I say now: ‘Please come on Tuesday against Wycombe, the Carabao Cup, please come to be with us.’

“Listen, everyone has their own life, sometimes they can come, sometimes not, sometimes they don’t want to, but we have to do our job like we have in the last five or six years. Every time I will ask this. We had more than one year without them [due to the pandemic] and it was not the same, football without them is not the same. So thank you for coming.”