Pep Guardiola Details Exactly Why Manchester City Can't Fill Their Stadium
Pep Guardiola has put Manchester City fans' preference to win the Premier League as a reason for attendances being down during Champions League games at the Etihad.
The jokes about City's attendances will often be made by fans of rival clubs, especially Manchester United and Liverpool, and now Guardiola has explained why its particularly bad for European games.
Talking ahead of City's Champions League tie with Dinamo Zagreb, Guardiola said, "I know for the fans it's the Premier League that is most exciting. We know that as a club, we've done polls, and the people prefer by far to win the Premier League than the Champions League.
"I know how special it is. But this competition is nice too. They have to live it as a dream. We have outrageous players, they want to win and make a step forward too. We need the fans."
The club have a fractured relationship with UEFA and the Champions League due to past issues and their fans have often booed the competitions famous anthem before games.
However that's not at the forefront of the manager's thoughts, with Guardiola explaining that the culture of the competition still being new to the club is also at fault for fans preferring the domestic league to Europe, adding, "I think it's because in the past, a whole generation, they were not there in this competition at our club.
"We were at home in the bars, drinking beer watching Liverpool and (Manchester) United for decades.
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"That's the culture of the club. We are making steps as a club. I've a feeling we are closer but this competition is in a high level, anything can happen."
City are in their ninth consecutive year in Europe's elite club competition and so far they've only got one semi final to show for their troubles.
The manager is also under separate pressure in the competition, having not reached the final with either Bayern or City since leaving Barcelona.
They are clear favourites to progress from Group C, and top the group, having been drawn with Zagreb, Atalanta and Shakhtar Donetsk, who they beat on Matchday One.
Guardiola did implore the fans to come and watch the team in Europe, saying, "We are going to try to seduce our fans. All I can do is say to our fans "come to join us and support us, these guys deserve it".
"It is impossible to do it alone, without the feeling that we want to do it and are able to do it. The fans must know that without them and without the nice environments (atmosphere) it's impossible."