China fan-snub claims ‘false’ – Man City boss Guardiola

Pep Guardiola and his players signed autographs and posed for selfies after a training session in Shanghai

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says claims the club has shown “disrespect” by ignoring fans on their tour of Asia is “far away from the reality”.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported that City had not engaged with local fans in China last week and shown “discrimination” towards local media.

“I should say I don’t agree and also that it’s false,” said Guardiola.

“I can’t understand what people are saying – maybe one journalist is a bit upset, I don’t know why,” he added.

“But it’s far away from the reality.

“We had an incredible time in Shanghai. We were committed to the co-operation you have to do here in China. The people from the hotel, all the people asking us to do things, we were ready to do that.

“For us it’s a new experience every season, it will help on the pitch, and off the pitch we are showing what an amazing club we are and how we are trying to be better every season. I’m so proud of what we’ve done – all the marketing departments, all the people who’ve organised this tour.”

Forward Raheem Sterling added: “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. I thought China was a great experience. You ask the boys, they all loved it.”

City played in the Asia Trophy, beating West Ham in Nanjing and losing on penalties to Wolves in Shanghai, before travelling to Hong Kong, where they will play local side Kitchee on Wednesday.

Government protests have been taking place in Hong Kong for several weeks and pro-democracy protesters were attacked on Sunday.

However, Guardiola said the players felt “safe”, while Sterling added: “It has no impact, we’re aware of the situation but we are getting on with training.”

Schedule is ‘killing’ our players – Guardiola

Guardiola has criticised the scheduling of pre-season, with a number of his African and South American players yet to return after playing in the Africa Cup of Nations, which only ended on 19 July and the Copa America.

City played their first friendly against West Ham in China on July 16, less than a week after the Copa America final.

Speaking of his South American players, including Argentina striker Sergio Aguero, Guardiola said: “Some of them will come on the 29 or 30 July, others come 3 or 4 August.

“They decide whether to come back after three or four weeks off. I don’t want them to come back if they are not fit, if they are tired and have still not recovered from a tough season. “

Riyad Mahrez (holding the trophy) celebrates Algeria’s Afcon win

Guardiola added that his club are “starting the season and Riyad Mahrez hasn’t finished the previous one” with the forward part of the Algeria team which beat Senegal to win Afcon.

“It’s a crazy schedule and we’ll kill our players sooner or later, we cannot sustain it for a long time,” Guardiola said.

“They have to breathe, rest, give more quality in the tournaments. They have to rest, but if the people want to come back a little bit earlier, they are more than welcome.”

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