talkSPORT pundit Trevor Sinclair has defended Manchester City fans, who have come under fire after Pep Guardiola pleaded them to attend this weekend's match with Southampton.
This follows City's epic victory over RB Leipzig in the Champions League on Wednesday night, where there were over 10,000 empty seats at The Etihad Stadium.
However, Sinclair, who played 82 times for The Citizens between 2003 and 2007, has rejected criticisms of the club's fanbase and claims their support in the Premier League is stronger than Liverpool's.
:clap: "In the PL, City's stadium is 98.7% full, that's more than #LFC!"- talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) September 17, 2021
:large_blue_circle: "You don't have the tourists, it is Mancunians supporting City."
:trophy: "City don't have the relationship with the UCL yet, we've not won it!
Trevor Sinclair defends the attendances at #MCFC's Etihad Stadium. pic.twitter.com/tHWfTNdJtN
They've got the fans there," the ex-England international said on the station this morning. "League games- they're right up there. You know there's Manchester United that get near enough 100% (of the stadium filled) for league games. Then there's Arsenal, West Ham, Norwich and Manchester City are fifth. They get 98.7% of their stadium full.
That's in front of Liverpool. In the league, they (City) fill their stadium."
Sinclair also gave his explanations as to why the club have struggled to sell out for Champions League matches, arguing supporters are yet to truly invest into the competition.
"I think there's a couple of things," he continued. "Listen, we've just been through COVID. Financially, it's been very difficult for a lot of people. I think you look at Manchester City fans and you haven't got the tourists that come from all over England and the UK and further afield to come and watch games. It's basically Mancunians supporting Manchester City.
I don't think we've got the relationship with the Champions League yet. You look at Liverpool- they've won it six times. Of course they're going to turn out for that. They've got a fantastic history with that tournament. We've not yet got that. I understand where Pep's coming from but it's gone in the face of the loyal fans. They're going to have to take a bit of stick from opposing fans."
Sinclair's colleague at talkSPORT Simon Jordan has also spoke about this issue, saying there are multiple reasons behind it.
"It might be that there is a general feeling of discontent towards UEFA," the former Crystal Palace owner argued yesterday. "Because we've seen the City fans, I believe, in the past turning their backs during the UEFA Champions League theme. Whether that's because they can't win it or whether it's because they think they've been unfairly treated by FIFA- I think it's a combination of the two perhaps.
It was reported that he (Pep Guardiola) was pleading. He wasn't. He was making an observation. He's used to playing football inside of full stadiums at Bayern Munich and at Barcelona. Bona fide big clubs that haven't been manufactured out of someone's will and finances. I don't know whether this is a Champions League phenomenon... or it's a real telling of the fact that Manchester City aren't the club that people would have you believe they are."
All eyes will be on The Etihad this Saturday, when the Premier League champions welcome winless Southampton.
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