Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has apologised following chants by the club’s fans referencing the Hillsborough and Heysel tragedies during last week’s defeat at Liverpool.
Liverpool expressed their disappointment over the conduct of City fans after the fiery Premier League clash at Anfield last Sunday.
As well as the chants, similarly-themed graffiti was also daubed in a number of places on the concourse of the Anfield Road end stand.
With no official response from City in the days following the game, Guardiola became the first person from the club to speak publicly on the matter as he held a regular press conference on Friday.
He apologised for the chants “if they happened” before insisting “don’t worry, we can behave perfectly” in what appears to be a slightly blase response to a big problem.
He said: “I didn’t hear the chant. If it happened I’m so sorry. It doesn’t represent what we are as a team and a club – if this happened.
“But don’t worry, we can behave perfectly (after) our mistakes, without a problem.”
The chanting and vandalism was not the only unsavoury issue surrounding the game.
Coins were thrown at Guardiola during the match and the City bus was struck by a missile as it left Anfield.
City were also understood to believe some comments by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp ahead of the game referencing the Manchester club’s wealth had needlessly inflamed tensions, and alleged the Reds boss was being ‘borderline xenophobic’.
Asked if he felt the rivalry between the two clubs had become toxic, Guardiola said: “I don’t think so. From our side, I’m pretty sure of that.”
Klopp was of a similar mind when he was asked if he needed to smooth things over before Liverpool’s next meeting with Man City.
“I am not sure we have to be best friends with other clubs,” said Klopp. “I don’t think anybody wants to be best friends with us. It is a completely normal competition.
“It started here (in Friday’s press conference) with a question and I answered it and all the rest was made of it. I know what I thought when I said it and I thought I put it in perspective and said how much I respect what they (City) are doing.
“Obviously, it was still not right for some. As a club and a team with our supporters we showed an incredible performance. And then if something happens and one fan throws a coin it is a massive mistake and it will get punished, definitely.”
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