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Guardiola hits back at ‘false’ criticism of Manchester City’s conduct in China | Football

Pep Guardiola has hit back at claims that Manchester City were arrogant and disrespectful during their pre-season visit to China.

An editorial published by China’s state-run news agency Xinhua criticised the conduct of the English champions during the Premier League Asia Trophy in Nanjing and Shanghai.

The piece was headlined “Chinese fans’ love for Man City goes unreciprocated on home soil” and accused the club of visiting China only to “win wallets, not hearts and minds”.

“I should say I don’t agree and also that it’s false,” Guardiola said in Hong Kong. “To make a statement like this they have to know exactly what happened here in our club.

“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, were asking us to do things and we were ready to do that.

“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.

“We came here and 23 hours later travelled two hours by train to play in Nanjing then back to Shanghai. Now we are here and then to Tokyo. And always with the biggest smile.

“We don’t sleep too well during the nights but, even so, we make good training sessions for all the guys.

“I’ve been impressed with my players so far and let’s see for the rest of the tour. I completely disagree with the journalist – that’s not the reality.”

City travelled to Hong Kong to play Kitchee in a friendly on Wednesday before facing their sister club Yokohama F Marinos in Japan on Saturday.

Raheem Sterling also said the China experience was positive. Speaking alongside Guardiola the forward said: “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.”

City have arrived in Hong Kong during a period of turmoil after a pro-democracy demonstration at the weekend turned violent. Guardiola said: “As a human being you don’t like to watch it but always as a society you have to accept the protest and I am pretty sure the government will be in agreement about no violence, and they are going to solve the problem … We have no concerns at all. We feel safe.”

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