Following Manchester City’s 4-0 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach on Champions League Matchday 1, Pep Guardiola expressed his desire for City fans to show their support on European nights by filling the Etihad Stadium and generating a vibrant atmosphere.
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) September 14, 2016
Now, City’s attendance that night was 30,217 and before all the “Emptihad” jokes begin, bear in mind that the match was being played a day later than originally planned. Following the torrential rain the night before, UEFA officials felt it was unsafe for a football match to take place and postponed the clash for 24 hours. With City fans who may not have been able to attend on the Wednesday along with the majority of Mönchengladbach fans who had to make the trip home back to Germany, there was no surprise the attendance was just over half of the stadium’s capacity.
With Guardiola at the helm, City fans should be more excited than ever for what this season may hold for the club’s Champions League dreams. However, Guardiola may need a quick lesson in Manchester City and what the club has been through during their time in Europe’s premier competition.
City have been punished financially by UEFA and fans have been punished for actions that they have not been involved in (most notably, being shut-out of a fixture away at CSKA Moscow in October 2014 after the home supporters had racially abused Yaya Touré the previous season).
The Blues’ time in the Champions League is set to be tougher due to a new positioning system set to be introduced by the executives from the major European clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona, often seen as the old guard of European football. This will in turn stop new clubs like City and Leicester from seeded in the top pots when it comes to the group stage draw.
In Guardiola’s defence however, this a competition where his philosophy has been very effective during his short managerial career, leading to possession based football becoming de rigueur at many top European clubs.
After not winning the European title with Bayern Munich during his three-year spell in Germany, Guardiola may be left with annoying feeling that he has not yet added a third Champions League medal to his collection. Along with the stress he puts himself through before and during a match, it’s no surprise that he’s brought up the lack of fans in the stadium.
Do not expect the booing of the Champions League anthem to come to a halt anytime soon as City fans will still, rightly, feel embittered about the past few seasons in UEFA’s top competition. However, with Guardiola making a rallying cry for fans to turn up on European nights, it is clear that the Catalan is passionate about City’s European exploits and believes the fans are a crucial part of this season’s European adventure.
Written by Matt Astbury
Typical City is funded by the readers via our Patreon page. Please consider funding us with $1 a month so we can continue to operate as we are now. Thank you in advance.