Joleon Lescott insists Pep Guardiola didn’t mean to disrespect Man City fans after his dig at 17,000 empty seats at the Etihad… but admits it ‘could have been articulated differently’
- Pep Guardiola called on Manchester City fans to watch their Southampton clash
- His comments came after City beat RB Leipzig in front of Etihad empty seats
- The club’s supporters’ group called his words ‘disappointing’ and ‘uncalled for’
- Joleon Lescott says the Man City manager did not mean to disrespect the fans
- But, Lescott does believe Guardiola could have articulated his point differently
Joleon Lescott says Pep Guardiola did not mean to disrespect Manchester City fans when he asked for a greater attendance during their clash with Southampton.
The manager was criticised after inviting fans to turn up in greater numbers for their Premier League showdown after 38,062 watched City beat RB Leipzig at the Etihad on Wednesday.
Lescott believes Guardiola could have articulated his point differently but understands the sentiment behind his comments – claiming the City boss was trying to ’emphasise the importance of the fans’.
Joleon Lescott (above) says Pep Guardiola did not mean to disrespect Manchester City fans when he asked for a greater attendance during their clash with Southampton
Lescott said: ‘I understand Pep’s need to urge fans to come. Obviously it wasn’t a full capacity but I think he was trying to emphasise the importance they have and the role they play in helping lift the team up when the mood is subdued at times.
‘Possibly could have been articulated a little bit differently but I have that with my wife all the time but it’s one of those things that happen.
‘I don’t think there’s a thing between the fans and Pep. They enjoy each other and appreciate the part they play for the club going forward.
The manager was criticised after inviting fans to turn up in greater numbers for their Premier League showdown after 38,062 watched City beat RB Leipzig at the Etihad on Wednesday
‘He didn’t (back down) but he was given an opportunity to articulate and explain what he meant a little bit more and I think he’s going down the route of the importance the fans play in success.
‘We’ve played a season without fans and now to see them back and now they realise every club how much they rely on them.’
Lescott also supported Guardiola after he suggested ticket prices are too high at the top end of football.
The 39-year-old said: ‘I don’t think he [Guardiola] meant disrespect to fans. He understands it’s hard financially for a lot of people the club will work with the fans to reduce that factor.’
Lescott’s comments came after Guardiola had referenced the club’s atmosphere and attendance for their Premier League fixture against Southampton.
Sportsmail reported how City received complaints from fans following his latest comments
Sportsmail previously reported how City had received complaints from supporters following the manager’s latest comments.
He said: ‘I’d like more people to come on Saturday, we need the people. I invite all our people to come Saturday, 3 pm, to watch the game.’
He was then given the opportunity to apologise for his comments, but Guardiola said: ‘Did I say after the game against Leipzig that I was disappointed because the stadium was not full? Interpretation is interpretation.
‘That’s why I am asking for more quality over quantity — fewer games will be better for everyone,’ he said. ‘What I would love is the right prices for the fans but I’m not involved in that.’