Men's Team

Guardiola: ‘It is a joy to play at the Etihad’

Pep Guardiola has sounded a special salute to the magnificent backing of the City fans, describing it as ‘a joy to play at the Etihad.’

Guardiola hailed the important role played by the City fans in the aftermath of our dramatic, title-clinching 3-2 comeback win against Aston Villa at the end of last season.

The City boss has also been at pains to praise the backing and wholehearted support offered by the Etihad faithful in his programme notes for our opening two home matches of the new Premier League season.

The support and unequivocal backing of the Etihad was once again evident in those two home wins - our opening 4-0 triumph against Bournemouth and then last Saturday’s thrilling 4-2 win against Crystal Palace.

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Asked at his pre-match press conference ahead of Wednesday’s latest home match against Nottingham Forest, whether he felt the Etihad atmosphere was even more intense and vibrant now, the manager was unequivocal in his verdict:

“Compared to previous seasons and my first season, completely,” Guardiola declared.

“The noise is louder, and they are close and it is always full.

“It is a joy to play at the Etihad right now.

“When they were incredibly pleased about these players and when that happened, they know we will never give up and that we will try to do our best to make a good 90 minutes and be comfortable.

“And after, when they know that is going to happen, they support us. Hopefully, it can continue.”

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Expanding on his theme, the boss also said how the support and energy provided by the fans also transmitted itself to the City players.

Guardiola also pointed out that the support, togetherness and respect between supporters and players mirrored itself in the stands and on the pitch.

“We have to give to them, of course. We have to give to them but the way we want to try and play is to encourage them to be close to us,” Guardiola added.

“(In the) bad moments in the games they are always there and after we score the first goal it is quite similar.

“(The) Aston Villa (game) was quite different because we were playing for the Premier League but when we scored the first goal, we saw they were there.

“The noise and everything that is so important, for the opponent and for ourselves.”

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