Football News

Pep Guardiola publicly questions Man City fans’ Champions League desire

By Steve Jennings

Published: 17:23, 17 April 2019

Pep Guardiola has called on the Manchester City fans to improve the atmosphere at the Etihad to help the team reach the Champions League semi-finals.

The Spaniard suggested the supporters must show a similar level of ambition to the players if they want the team to overcome Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday night.

What does Guardiola want from Man City’s fans? Five key things to know…

  1. City reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2016/17 but were thwarted by Liverpool in last season’s quarter-finals.
  2. The difference in atmosphere between Anfield and the Etihad was deemed by some to be a deciding factor in the tie.
  3. The noise levels were noticeably improved when City beat Liverpool 2-1 at the Etihad in the Premier League in January.
  4. Guardiola hopes the City fans will produce a similar atmosphere against Spurs on Wednesday night.
  5. Tottenham lead the tie 1-0 after the first leg thanks to Son Heung-min’s second-half strike.

Speaking to the media ahead of the second leg, Guardiola appeared to suggest the City fans have not made enough noise is previous European knockout matches at the Etihad.

The former Barcelona boss went on to say he is “curious” about how the supporters will motivate the team against Spurs.

“I want to see that they want to get to the semi-finals, not just the players, the fans too,” Guardiola told reporters.

“I want to see that. Do it for the guys – the last 20 months, they are so proud with what they have done, but they are human beings. They will have bad moments in the games and at that moment we need our supporters. At this stage, without supporters, we cannot go through. I’m really curious how our fans will be.”

Asked what kind of atmosphere he wants, Guardiola replied: “The Liverpool game would be enough for me – a little bit better.

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“We need it. Sorry guys, I’m a failure in this competition but many times I played in the semi-finals and quarter-finals, and every time I played away the atmosphere was really incredible.

“They support their local needs. We need it. Really, we need it. I want to see that they want to get to the semi-finals. Not the players, [with] the players [I have] no doubt after 20 months.

“I want to see my fans, our fans, that they really want the semi-finals. I want to see that tomorrow (Wednesday).”

Of course, given that they have gone far in four tournaments, the demand on Manchester City fans and their finances has been very high this season, with many complaining that they are simply being priced out of the extra games due to high ticket prices.

Man City a “clear favourite” to win the Champions League – Pochettino

Mauricio Pochettino goes into Wednesday’s game acknowledging it will be difficult to keep City out in the second leg.

But the Argentinian refused to be drawn on suggestions that there is more pressure on the hosts because of the money they have spent compared to Spurs.

Pochettino said: “I don’t want to talk about that. The reality is the reality. We are going to be 11 against 11 on the pitch and of course, we will forget everything and try and win everything, and fight. I am a person that never makes excuses after and never before.

(Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

“You describe a reality and the reality is there but tomorrow we are going to be on the pitch and [will] try and win the game. We are going to be more than proud of our run in the Champions League and try and arrive in the semi-final and challenge a team like Manchester City.

“City for me is one of the best teams in the world and a clear favourite to win the Premier League and Champions League. For us to beat them in the first leg was an amazing result but we know very well the tie is still open and tomorrow is going to be very tough.”