Pep Guardiola has admitted to feeling ‘a bit guilty’ over Manchester City’s 0-0 stalemate with Southampton on Saturday, having urged fans to come and support their team following the Champions League win in midweek.
The Spaniard’s plea for supporters to buy tickets for their Premier League clash with Saints led to a significant amount of backlash, but he later refused to apologise for his comments.
However, Guardiola has now confessed he feels ‘a bit guilty’ that his players did not win the match in front of 53,000 fans at the Etihad Stadium, having mustered their only shot on target in the 90th minute of the 0-0 draw with Southampton.
“Always when the game is not good I feel bad for them,” Guardiola said. “They come to see a show, to see a game and when it doesn’t happen I feel a bit guilty because we didn’t play good.”
However, Guardiola maintained that he “didn’t say anything wrong” in encouraging supporters to buy tickets for Southampton’s visit, and insisted that he “never complained” about a lack of support inside the stadium.
“I didn’t say anything wrong after Leipzig. I said we had an incredibly tough game, had an incredibly tough game against Southampton and we would need the support of our fans. I never complained about how many come or don’t come. I have never thought this in my life. I don’t know why people are asking me this question. I am grateful even if 85 or 100 people come.”
The Man City boss also thought that his team struggled in their build-up, while complimenting Southampton on their effective game plan.
“We were not good in our build-up. We lost simple balls in our process because we were not clever and a little bit sloppy.
“That is why I have to compliment Southampton. We move forward.”
The Cityzens have now dropped points twice this season – they also lost out to Leicester City in the Community Shield – as Guardiola’s men look to defend their Premier League title, while they are also hunting that elusive Champions League trophy.