The Manchester City boss made the rare decision to call on his side’s fanbase for more before their Premier League clash at home to Southampton – which they duly drew 0-0
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola may want to focus on the issues that plague his playing staff rather than take on the Etihad faithful – regardless of the fact that he clearly thinks there aren’t enough of them.
The three-time Premier League-winning boss caused quite the stir after City’s 6-3 Champions League home win over RB Leipzig as he issued a rallying cry to the club’s supporters for them to come out in their droves for Saturday’s Premier League clash at home to Southampton.
Guardiola said: “I would like more people to come next game on Saturday. We need the people next Saturday, please. Because we will be tired; I know the team from Ralph [Hasenhüttl] is quite similar [to Leipzig] the way they play.
“They are so, so dangerous with good quality and it’s a really important game for us, so I invite all our people to come next Saturday 3pm to watch the game.”
The remarks prompted a spikey reply from Kevin Parker, the general secretary of Manchester City ’s supporters’ club, who claimed City’s manager should “stick to coaching”.
Saturday’s game against Southampton came and went, both sides failing to lay a glove on the other in a forgettable 0-0 draw.
The most notable moment of the clash falling in favour of the Saints after they thought they had won a late penalty only for VAR to overrule John Moss’s on-field decision.
Remarkably, City’s star-studded line up mustered just one shot on target for the entire game – which came courtesy of Phil Foden in the 90th minute.
The impotent display only further highlighted City’s most obvious issue, one that does not stem from the terraces but from the top-end of the pitch, where Guardiola’s side are crying out for a new striker to offer something different to Gabriel Jesus up top.
The summer-long pursuit of Tottenham talisman Harry Kane ended in failure, while a last gasp bid for Cristiano Ronaldo met the same fate – meaning City are yet to replace the now-departed club legend Sergio Aguero after he was let go to Barcelona.
Goals have hardly been hard to come by in certain fixtures for City this season, though two successive 5-0 victories over Norwich and Arsenal – while welcome, are hardly the sternest tests Guardiola’s side will face this season.
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City have fired blanks on two occasions this season, the first coming in an opening day defeat to Spurs before the 0-0 draw against Southampton just over a month later.
To put their current striking struggles into context, last term City reached mid-December before they failed to score for the second time in a game.
What should become increasingly clearer as the match-weeks pass to Guardiola is that the best way to fill the Etihad seats is to play the kind of football that gets fans off of them.