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Manchester City coach Pep Cardiola has refused to apologize for inviting too many fans to his team’s matches, despite criticism from the fan club.
The city coach said he hopes “more fans” will attend his team’s game on Saturday against Southampton in the English Premier League.
He was criticized by the fans’ association, but said his “statements were misunderstood”.
“Did you say I was sorry the stadium wasn’t full?” He said Friday.
“The interpretation of the words is an explanation. I will not apologize. I realized how difficult the situation was last season. On Saturday we will try to do something together.”
He explained, “It doesn’t matter how many fans attend, we’ll have fun with them. After 5 seasons they do not understand my words, I will not apologize.”
The attendance of Manchester City fans in Champions League matches is usually less than their attendance in English Premier League matches.
The stadium can seat about 55,000 fans. More than 38,000 people attended Wednesday’s match against German team Leipzig, while the area reserved for fans of the visiting team was almost empty.
In two Premier League games against Norwich and Arsenal, the stands were full.
“If the fans have a problem, I’ll leave.”
On Thursday, a group of city fans described Cardiola’s comments as “disappointing and unnecessary”.
Kevin Parker, general secretary of the official club fans, said Cardiola’s statements were “false because fan attendance is better”.
He added, “Some people at eight o’clock in the evening on Wednesday did not realize the difficulty in attending.”
But Cardiola said he would never blame city fans for not being able to attend matches.
“I am grateful to them for their support of us in the Leipzig tournament,” it was Cardiola’s 300th game with City, ending 6-3.
“I always say I will be grateful to them if the fans ever come, because I know how difficult the game is and I know we need our fans,” Cardiola said.
“I’m not sitting here and wondering why people do not come. If you can not, do not come,” he added.
He said, “If this is a problem for the fans, I will leave. From the first day I did what I could, I want to play at Etihad Stadium in front of the fans. I want to achieve something with them.”
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