Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola dismisses Chinese media criticism, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola dismisses Chinese media criticism

Man City manager admits club lacks the experience in relation to overseas tours

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola blasted a report in Chinese state media as "false" yesterday, after the English Premier League champions were accused of showing "disrespect" during their tour of China.

Guardiola hit out at the lengthy commentary posted on the English-language website of Xinhua, the state news agency, which said City snubbed fans and visited China only for commercial reasons.

"I don't agree, but I should say too that it's false. To make a statement like this, they have to know exactly what's happening in our club," Guardiola told media in Hong Kong, ahead of City's friendly with local side Kitchee today.

"The players had an incredible time in Shanghai. They were committed in all the commercials they had to do.

"The people from the hotel, we took care of all of them with signatures, with pictures. All the people asking something, we were ready to do that.

"It's a unique experience for us. It's not easy to come to Asia during the season, and to go to the restaurants and know the people. It's amazing to travel and know other people.

"I don't understand how people can say that. Maybe one journalist is a little bit upset, I don't know why. But it's far away from what is reality."

The opinion piece, which accused City of an "attitude of arrogance" and lashed out at arrangements for Chinese media, brought a sour end to City's tour of mainland China.

"For the EPL champions, their appearance in China was nothing more than a commercial obligation, and their lack of enthusiasm and the indifferent treatment of their hosts stand in stark contrast to representatives of other clubs," the article stated.

"For City, they saw their recent success as a reason not to treat Chinese and foreigners with the same respect.

"Above all, it was an orientalist expectation on display by the City press relations staff that Chinese media would operate as an extension of their PR department, rather than as serious football journalists.

"An attitude of arrogance and the belief that they were the main attraction to the Premier League Asia Trophy was misplaced and stood in direct contrast to the other clubs."

During their stopover in Nanjing and Shanghai last week, the EPL champions competed with Newcastle United, Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United for the Premier League Asia Trophy.

A frazzled City - minority-owned by a Chinese state investment company - arrived two days late and played two games in four days, before heading off for further friendlies in Hong Kong and Japan.

"So we came here, 23 hours. One day later, we travelled two hours by train to play in another city, then came back to Shanghai and now here, and then we're going to Tokyo," Guardiola said.

"And always with the biggest smile. We didn't sleep that well during the night, but we had good training sessions. I'm impressed with all my players, what they have done so far."


Guardiola, who earlier said the whirlwind visit was all about "survival", will take City into the Community Shield, the English season's curtain-raiser, against Liverpool on Aug 4.

England forward Raheem Sterling said he thought the players had made a "really good connection" with fans during their time in China.

"We took a little bit longer than we expected to get to China, the turnaround was a bit fast and there were a lot we had to catch up on as well. A lot of us have been struggling with sleep," he said.

"But no, in China, I thought it was a great experience. We all loved it."

However, Guardiola admitted that City lack the experience of other European clubs in relation to overseas tours.

"For our club, there's not a huge experience to go abroad, to go to other countries because we are not Manchester United or Liverpool or Bayern Munich, who for a long, long time are travelling on these kind of tours," the former Barcelona and Bayern manager said. - AFP, REUTERS