Pep Guardiola ‘so sorry’ for Man City fans’ offensive chants at Liverpool

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has apologized for chants from the club’s fans referring to the Hillsborough and Heysel tragedies in last weekend’s rocky defeat to Liverpool.

The Catalan, who says he hasn’t heard any attacking sings himself, also believes City will learn lessons on and off the pitch from what happened at Anfield on Sunday.

Liverpool expressed their disappointment at the “despicable” chants from City fans, as well as graffiti also referring to the two 1980s disasters, after the game.

Guardiola’s response at a press conference on Friday was the first public comment made by anyone from City on the matter since the tumultuous Premier League clash, which Liverpool won 1-0.

“I didn’t hear the chanting,” Guardiola said. “If it happened, I’m really sorry. It doesn’t represent who we are as a team and a club – if that happened.

“But, don’t worry, we can behave perfectly (after) our mistakes, no problem.”

Chants and vandalism weren’t the only unsavory issues surrounding the game.

Coins were thrown at Guardiola on the touchline and police are investigating after a City team bus was hit by a missile as it left the ground.

Hostility between the two clubs has intensified in recent years and it is understood that some people at City believe Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp’s pre-match comments about the Manchester club’s wealth have unnecessarily inflamed tensions .

But when asked if he felt the City-Liverpool rivalry had become toxic, Guardiola replied: “I don’t think so. On our side, I’m pretty sure.

As well as addressing the fallout from off-pitch controversies, Guardiola is also hoping to come to terms with what was their first defeat of the campaign. The champions host Brighton on Saturday.

Guardiola said: “We have to be ready. The past is the past, and already forgotten. Of course, we take the lesson – on and off the pitch – but Brighton is our only concern.

“I’ve learned from my managerial career that if you always focus on the past, you’ll lose focus on the present and the future, and that’s the first step to losing points.

“Liverpool is history and Brighton is our dream.”

When asked further if he’s had enough of the recurring questions or criticism relating to the club’s financial strength, Guardiola said: “It is what it is. (Just prepare for) Brighton and try to play better and win games. That’s how it is.”

Guardiola, meanwhile, has warned players that he will not accept any lowering of standards from players who may fear injury ahead of the World Cup.

He said, “He won’t play if I feel that. I’m really good at feeling that. Not tactical, but sniffing. I am very good.

“There’s a risk he will get injured if he’s not ready. When you’re focused, you don’t get hurt. When you’re distracted, that’s when you get hurt.

“They can lose their place in the World Cup by not being selected, or for many reasons, so they have to be focused in every game until the end.

“It’s only two weeks away and if you’re focused here you’ll be perfect for the World Cup. Otherwise you’ll be in trouble.


Arab Observer

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