Pep Guardiola firmly rejected criticism of Manchester City by Chinese state media after the Premier League champions were branded ‘greedy and arrogant’.
Press agency Xinhua accused City of showing ‘utter disrespect’ to the country during their five-night stay, citing Guardiola heading straight for the team bus rather than signing autographs after a match.
The City boss hit back at the report – only published on Xinhua English language website – after they landed in Hong Kong for the second leg of the pre-season tour.
REPORT IN CHINA
Chinese press agency Xinhua wrote a story about Manchester City on their pre-season tour saying: – Pep Guardiola was ushered away by security guards instead of signing autographs, which they called ‘utterly disrespectful’ – Their ‘lack of enthusiasm and their indifferent treatment of their hosts stands in stark contrast to representatives of other clubs’ – The Manchester City press operation was ‘woefully lacking’ – Chinese media were ‘excluded’ from events and interview opportunities – Players rejected requests for photos and autographs at a Puma event – City will leave China without ‘respect or new fans’
READ THE FULL REPORT HERE
‘I don’t agree and it’s false,’ said an animated Guardiola. ‘To make a statement like this they have to know exactly what happened here in our club. ‘I’ve been impressed with my players so far and let’s see for the rest of the tour.
I completely disagree with the journalist – that’s not the reality. ‘We were committed to the co-operation you have to do here in China. The people from the hotel, all the people asking us to do things we were ready to do that.
‘Off the pitch we are showing what an amazing club we are and how we are trying to be better every season. ‘I’m so proud of what we’ve done – all the marketing departments, all the people who’ve organised this tour. And maybe next year or in two years we are going to come back to China when the club decides we should come.’ City were also said to have a ‘desire to win wallets, not hearts and minds,’ with glowing praise for others clubs in the Premier League Asia Trophy. Xinhua bemoaned a lack of access for Chinese media in its commentary piece.
WHAT DID CITY DO WHILE IN CHINA? As well as their two matches in the Premier League’s Asia Trophy in China, City also held: – Pre-match fan events in Nanjing and Shanghai with official supporters’ clubs – Meet and greet event with fans – attended by Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Oleksandr Zinchenko – Open training in Shanghai (cancelled in Nanjing due to flight delay) Guardiola has struggled on the trip – which got off to a terrible start after two cancelled flights out of Manchester – but insisted his squad and staff have remained professional.
‘It’s amazing to get to know other people,’ he added. ‘That’s why I can’t understand what people are saying – maybe one journalist is a bit upset, I don’t know why – but it’s far away from reality. ‘Always we did it with the biggest smile.
We don’t sleep too well during the night but even so, we make good training sessions for all the guys. I’ve been impressed with my players so far and let’s see for the rest of the tour.
‘For our club, it’s a huge experience to go abroad to other countries because we are not Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich. They’ve been doing it for many years.
For us it’s a new experience every season, it will help on the pitch and we did it last season.’