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Pep Guardiola wants to ‘seduce’ City fans with Champions League performances
Manchester City supporters have taken to booing the tournament’s anthem in protest against organisers UEFA.
Pep Guardiola hopes his Manchester City side can seduce the fans with their performances in the Champions League this season.
The Premier League champions are among the favourites to win Europe’s top club competition this season – as they compete in it for a ninth successive year – but their fans are still to be truly won over.
Guardiola has previously commented on the lack of atmosphere at European games in comparison to Premier League fixtures.
This has been alien to Guardiola given his background as a player and manager at Barcelona and also after working at Bayern Munich.
Yet City, who have leapt out of the pack to the top of the English game in the past decade, have no great tradition in the Champions League. Their supporters also regularly boo the competition anthem in a long-running protest against organisers UEFA.
Speaking at a press conference to preview Tuesday’s Group C clash with Dinamo Zagreb, Guardiola said: “The fans must know it – without them and the nice environment at home it is impossible. We cannot do it alone, it is impossible.
“We are going to try in our football to seduce the fans and say ‘OK we can do it’. We have to seduce them so they realise how it’s important, and the only way to seduce them is by winning games and playing good.
“I know for the fans it’s the Premier League that’s most exciting. We know that as a club, we’ve done polls, and the people prefer by far to win the Premier League than the Champions League. I know how special it is. But this competition is nice too and our fans, they have to live it as a dream.”
Playmaker Kevin De Bruyne is a doubt for the visit of Dinamo to the Etihad Stadium after missing training on the eve of the match.
The Belgian was not present as the squad trained in front of media at the City Football Academy, fuelling speculation he may have been injured before being substituted late in Saturday’s victory at Everton.
Guardiola had earlier given no hints of fresh injuries in the squad, saying: “Yesterday, everybody was fit – before the Champions League games everybody is fit.”
After winning five of the last six domestic trophies on offer, the Champions League is now the last major target for Guardiola at City.
He said: “I want to win this tournament but if I don’t, it will not change my life. I am not going to kill myself, I promise you.
“Of course we are going to try but, I’m sorry, I’m not going to live the next 10 months, or next season, thinking if I don’t win the Champions League it will be a disaster in my life, because my life is quite good, every single day.”
City’s opponents thrashed Atalanta in their group opener.
Guardiola said: “Italy is a tough, tough league and they were able to beat them 4-0. It is enough of a warning to say ‘be careful, guys’.