After suffering two flight cancellations before finally making the trip to China for the Premier League Asia Trophy, Manchester City have come under criticism by a media group in the country. Xinhua Agency (the biggest media agency in China) in an article titled “Chinese fans’ love for Man City goes unreciprocated”
accused the club of being “arrogant” and “utterly disrespectful” in the way it conducted itself during the ongoing pre-season tour. This comes as the team was perceived to have paid little attention to the Chinese fans in the course of the tournament.
A portion of the article from the media outlet read: “Taken alone, it might have been excusable as a one-off occurrence, perhaps due to jetlag or a packed schedule.
“But unfortunately for Chinese fans here and local media, it proved to just be one example among many of the utter disrespect shown by Manchester City to their hosts during their tour of China.
“For the Premier League champions, their appearance in China was nothing more than a commercial obligation, and their lack of enthusiasm and the indifferent treatment of their hosts stands in stark contrast to representatives of other clubs.”
But manager Pep Guardiola has refuted such claims, insisting that the view is far from reality. Responding to questions on the report, Guardiola stated:
”I should say I don’t agree and also that it’s false.
”To make a statement like this they have to know exactly what happened here in our club.
”We had an incredible time in Shanghai. All the people asking us to do things we were ready to do that.
”We came here - it’s an unique experience because it’s not easy to come to Asia during the season.
”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,” he concluded.
Raheem Sterling also responded to questions on the report saying, “Every time we got back from training we embraced the fans, we signed signatures, we said our goodbyes. I thought there was a really good connection.”
However, the negative feelings towards the club in some quarters may not be unconnected to the fact that City’s itinerary for their time in China had to be squeezed as a result of the flight cancellations that occurred before embarking on the trip.
Consequently, the team spent two fewer days in the country than had initially been scheduled, before leaving for Hong Kong.