Thu, Jul 25, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Guardiola lashes back at Xinhua criticism of City

AP, HONG KONG

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has rejected claims that the English Premier League champions were arrogant and disrespectful during their pre-season visit to China last week.

Xinhua news agency published an editorial in English that criticized the conduct of the team during the Premier League Asia Trophy in Nanjing and Shanghai.

The editorial “Chinese fans’ love for Man City goes unreciprocated on home soil” accused the club of visiting China to “win wallets, not hearts and minds.”

It also said that City had “an attitude of arrogance” and that while the other clubs involved in the event won “a newfound respect and new fans,” City would “leave China with neither.”

Guardiola said those claims were simply “false.”

“To make a statement like this they have to know exactly what happened here in our club,” Guardiola told a news conference in Hong Kong, where City were to play another friendly yesterday.

“We had an incredible time in Shanghai. We were committed to the cooperation you have to do here in China. The people from the hotel, all the people, were asking us to do things and we were ready to do that,” he said. “To come to Asia and experience the culture, the restaurants — it’s amazing to get to know other people. 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 the reality.”

City arrived late in Shanghai after their flight was delayed by two days, then traveled by train to Nanjing for a game against West Ham United, before playing the Wolverhampton Wanderers in Shanghai on Saturday last week.

They were to play Kitchee in Hong Kong yesterday before wrapping up their Asian tour with a game in Tokyo on Saturday.

City winger Raheem Sterling also said that the team had a positive experience in China.

“Every time we got back from training to the hotel we embraced the fans, we signed signatures, we said our goodbyes. I thought there was a really good connection,” Sterling said. “We came a little bit later than we expected to China, the turnaround was a bit faster and a few of us struggled with sleep, but I thought China was a great experience. You ask the boys, they all loved it.”

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