Manchester City vs Gladbach: Pep Guardiola calls on fans to forget Uefa feud and support his players

New manager says the turn-out is not good enough afte a mere 30,000 watch him launch his English Champions League career with 4-0 win

Ian Herbert
Etihad Stadium
Wednesday 14 September 2016 23:03 BST
Pep Guardiola calls on fans to forget Uefa feud and support his players

Pep Guardiola told Manchester City fans to forget their feud with Uefa and get behind the team in such numbers that they can beginning filling their stadium, after an entire tier remained shut for the beginning of his Champions League era here.

A mere 30,270 people were at the Etihad to see a scintillating display as City swept aside Borussia Monchengladbach 4-0: a very poor turnout which was 25,000 shy of the stadium’s 55,000 capacity. Guardiola said he would make it is mission to persuade fans that they had to be here for European games

After the Uefa anthem was booed again, Guardiola was asked if he felt that enduring protest was positive. “I was not here what happened but they must forget what happened in the past,” he replied. “All we can do is play every time better and people will say ‘I [will] spend 90 minutes there and I have fun.’

"Today the stadium is not completely full so the only thing we can do is play good so the people at home say 'wow next time I will be there'. We have to be so proud to play in this competition. In coming here in three or four weeks are coming the best football players ever with LS [Luis Suarez] and Neymar and Barcelona and we have to enjoy it. The people are listening so I am sure they are going to do that.”

The fact that the game was originally scheduled last night clearly had an impact on the attendance. There were 40,064 for the qualifying round tie against Steaua Bucharest. But the struggle to fill the stadium was revealed in some of the ticket prices of £15 for adults and £10 for children. Premier League ticket prices are far more. City intend to keep the top tier of the new South Stand shut for the home match with Celtic on December 6 and open it for the visit of Barcelona on November 1. There was also fury when a behind-closed-doors tie at Moscow ended up being gatecrashed by CSKA Moscow fans who had been banned for racist behaviour.

The players walk out in front of the Etihad's partially-closed South Stand
The players walk out in front of the Etihad's partially-closed South Stand (Getty)

Guardiola – whose match-winner Sergio Aguero took his season tally to nine goals in five games with a hat-trick – said hie aim was to take City to the quarters and semi-finals, or final of this tournament every season, so that eventually they will win it.

“I think the next step with this club is to be there every single season, quarter final, semi-final and maybe in the final,” he said. “It is not the point to arrive once and after disappear. The big clubs have one and one and one. Last season with Manuel was the first time. The target is to be every season and the players in the future want to come because they know we are going to be there.”

Despite Aguero’s hat-trick, Guardiola was unhappy with his decisions to pass rather than shoot. He implied that the Argentine lacks confidence in the box.

“Only I wanted to convince Sergio that his talent in the box is natural,” he said. “I cannot teach him that but he has to know that behind the rest of the team wants to help him and that is what I want to convince him.”

Guardiola, who said that David Silva will probably miss the weekend match against Bournemouth after feeling “uncomfortable” in training on Wednesday morning, said this was the most important result of City’s season.

“The pressure we had, except for 10-15 minutes we didn’t do our high pressing,” he said. “All the players play high level.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in