Pep Guardiola defends Manchester City supporters’ ‘happy’ pitch invasion

Manchester City showed no signs of slowing down after securing the title, as the Premier League champions thrashed Swansea City.
Manchester City showed no signs of slowing down after securing the title, as the Premier League champions thrashed Swansea City.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was pleased his side were still giving their all despite already having clinched the Premier League title.

MANCHESTER — Pep Guardiola says Manchester City supporters were just showing their happiness after a good-natured pitch invasion following their 5-0 victory over Swansea City.

City clinched the Premier League title last weekend and the team celebrated their success in style with an emphatic victory at the Etihad Stadium.

Fans ran on the pitch after the final whistle and the Football Association could potentially take action against City for the invasion, particularly after an incident in the FA Cup earlier in the season when Wigan Athletic were charged after fans ran onto the pitch.

“Football is an emotional game. I understand you have to be careful, but when they feel they want to share that they are happy, it is better they stay where they should stay, but I’m not going to tell them ‘don’t do that,'” the City boss told a news conference.

“If they are happy I like to be close with the team. They show how happy they are and that is the most beautiful thing we can live like professionals, a manager and football players. We felt that today. The fans here were so happy.

“Just arriving on the bus the way people look at us and celebrate in the stadium and jump. I’m sorry that’s good. It’s time to celebrate it. I’m not going to tell anybody don’t enjoy it. I’m not going to tell them.”

City have two games left to play at the Etihad Stadium and Guardiola joked that he would prefer if they looked after the pitch.

Manchester City fans invade the pitch following the 5-0 Premier League win against Swansea.
Man City fans take to the pitch to celebrate their team’s Premier League title after a 5-0 win against Swansea.

However, he admitted that the players enjoyed Sunday’s atmosphere as sometimes the fans can be “cold” towards the team.

“Save the grass, we need the pitch for the future,” he said. “Our fans, today from the beginning they were there and singing and close to us. Sometimes they are more cold. Especially Liverpool after 1-1 from Salah, the people react amazingly, so close to the team. That means a lot to us.

“They know we are an honest team, a humble team, in the way we play without the ball, the way we press, the way we try to be honest. People realise that. That’s why we are close.

“In football you cannot hide what you are. They are so happy and we are so happy for them.”

Guardiola was delighted there was no dropping standards as David Silva, Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and Gabriel Jesus scored in an emphatic victory.

City are closing in on a record-breaking season and now have 90 points — five short of the record with four games left — 29 wins — one short of equalling the record of 30 and have scored 98 goals — five away from the record of 103.

“You have to keep improving. We spoke to the players in the week about that. If we are improving it will be good for the new season, finishing in a good way,” he said.

“When Swansea had the ball we pressed so good and so intense and then when we had the ball we had to keep it moving, moving, moving, playing simple, until we had the chance to play a final pass.

“Swansea have had good results under Carlos Carvalhal against Arsenal and Liverpool and that’s why it was so important to focus, play well and score.”

Jonathan is ESPN FC’s Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.