Pep Guardiola says he will not apologise for wanting more Manchester City fans to attend their Premier League game against Southampton this weekend.
City's attendances for their first two games of the Premier League season against Norwich (51,437) and Arsenal (52,276) were close to the Etihad Stadium's capacity of around 55,000.
"Did I say after the game that I was disappointed that the stadium was not full," he told reporters on Friday.
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"An interpretation is an interpretation. I am not going to apologise. I know how difficult last season was, and we make an approach to do something together on Saturday.
It doesn't matter how many come, I enjoy them. After five seasons they misunderstand me. I won't apologise.
He added: "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.
"I never sit here and ask why people don't come. If you can't come then don't.
If it's a problem for fans, I will step aside. From day one, I do my best. I like to play at the Etihad with my fans... my intentions are to be part of something, to do it together.
Kevin Parker, general secretary of Man City's official supporters' club, said on Thursday that Guardiola's comments after City's 6-3 win on Wednesday were "disappointing and uncalled for".
He said: "It's not factual, our attendances are generally excellent.
"He [Guardiola] doesn't understand the difficulties that some people might have getting to a game 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.
"He's absolutely the best coach in the world but, in the nicest possible way, I think maybe he should stick to that.
"It just takes the edge off what was a good night. People are talking more about Pep's comments than a fantastic game. To question the support, which is effectively what he is doing, is disappointing and uncalled for."
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04/10/2021 AT 08:11