Southampton-Manchester City Preview

Pep Guardiola stood by the comments he made about Manchester City's support after the win over RB Leipzig, despite facing criticism from a fan group.

City beat Leipzig 6-3 in their Champions League opener on Wednesday, yet the Etihad Stadium was far from full.

Guardiola said afterwards that he hoped fans would come and back the team in their next outing, against Southampton on Saturday.

Kevin Parker, the general secretary of City's official supporters' club, told Sky Sports: "He's absolutely the best coach in the world but, in the nicest possible way, I think maybe he should stick to that."

However, Guardiola refused to apologise.

"An interpretation is an interpretation, I am not going to apologise for what I said. I am surprised. It is not the first time I have said it in my career. When you play a game like in the Champions League, so tough like it was, with three days with a lack of preparation, and Southampton have had a full week, we know how difficult it will be.

"So to make an approach to do something together again the next Saturday. What I said is we would love, we need the support, of 10,000 people, 40,000 people, 50,000 people, it doesn't matter how many people come. But I invite them to enjoy another game because we need their support.

"After five seasons, if people can't understand my behaviour about the fans, it's because they want to misunderstand what I said. I'm not going to apologise for a second."

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, meanwhile, spoke of his satisfaction with the squad depth he has available this season.

"The good thing for me is that I have the choice. Last season if you were fit, you played," said Hasenhuttl.

"Now we have a lot of qualities that we need, or can try different alternatives. It's not so much about who deserves to play, but what we need to play that game."

Manchester City - Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne has been directly involved in more Premier League goals against Southampton than he has any other opponent in the competition (11 - four goals, seven assists). The Belgian averages a goal or assist every 63 minutes against Saints.

Southampton - James Ward-Prowse

James Ward-Prowse has scored in his last two away league games against Man City, doing so in November 2019 and March 2021. The last player to score in three consecutive Premier League away games against City was Tim Cahill, doing so between 2008 and 2010.

- Raheem Sterling is three goals away from scoring 100 in the Premier League. He has been directly involved in 11 Premier League goals against Southampton (seven goals, four assists), only registering more against West Ham in the competition (14 - eight goals, six assists).

- Jack Grealish has been directly involved in more of City's shots than any other player in the Premier League this season (21 - eight shots, 13 chances created), while across the whole division, only Trent Alexander-Arnold (20) has created more chances for teammates than the England midfielder (13).

- City have faced just four shots on target in the Premier League this season, with three of those coming in their opening match against Tottenham.

- After winning three consecutive away league games against City between March 2001 and April 2004, Southampton have lost nine of their last 10 visits to Etihad (D1). Saints have only failed to score in one of their last 16 away league games against the Citizens, but also haven't kept a clean sheet in any of their last 11.

- Southampton are winless in their last six Premier League games (D3 L3), drawing each of the last three in a row. The last time Saints had four consecutive draws in the top-flight was in March 2002.

Updated September 17, 2021

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