Gary Neville and Pep Guardiola are in agreement about the crowd issue affecting Manchester City's performance in the Premier League. Neville, a former Manchester United defender, pointed out that even Guardiola noticed the flat atmosphere during City's recent match against Liverpool.
This lack of energy from the crowd has been a contributing factor to City's struggle to maintain their form in the league. City's draw against Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium marked their third consecutive Premier League fixture without a win. Prior to that, they faced Chelsea and Liverpool, resulting in a three-point gap between them and league leaders Arsenal.
Trent Alexander-Arnold's late goal for Liverpool silenced the Etihad crowd, while Dejan Kulusevski's header secured a point for Spurs in their thrilling 3-3 draw. These underwhelming performances have raised concerns about City's ability to maintain their dominance.
Neville shared his thoughts on his podcast, suggesting that City may be experiencing post-treble blues. He believes that reaching the pinnacle of success in football can lead to a sense of complacency and a loss of excitement. He also acknowledged that the crowd has been spoiled by City's success, making it difficult for them to generate the same level of enthusiasm during matches against tough opponents like Liverpool and Tottenham.
"We've seen two games against Liverpool and Tottenham, it's been difficult for the crowd to get up, now we thought last week was because it was a 12:30 kick-off, coming back off internationals, people are sleepy," Neville said. "Today it was flat, Pep Guardiola mentioned it and this isn't an ex-Manchester United player sticking the knife in.
"When you're climbing the mountain you create a great atmosphere, sometimes you go out on the pitch and there's an expectation but when it's 0-0 and the games drifting, they'll go quiet. What we're witnessing from City is complacency and that edge missing, it's natural, it's human nature."
Guardiola himself addressed the issue, expressing his desire for more noise from the crowd during matches, especially when facing Liverpool. He emphasized the importance of creating an atmosphere that motivates the players and drives them to perform at their best. Guardiola acknowledged that winning trophies can sometimes lead to a sense of entitlement, but he praised his players for their hunger to continue achieving success.
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"Yeah, I would like noise. I like noise against Liverpool but okay, it didn't happen. Do you know what I feel when it doesn't happen? You have to play better," Guardiola said after the draw with the Reds.
"Create more chances and make environments to make the crowd follow us. We need them. All these years in important moments, we did it together and we need them. Because these guys deserve it.
Both Neville and Guardiola agree that City's current struggles are a result of complacency and a lack of intensity from both the team and the crowd. Neville's observation aligns with Guardiola's comments about the need for a more vibrant atmosphere to inspire the players. They both recognize that sustaining success requires constant motivation and the support of an enthusiastic crowd.
Liverpool.com says: City and the Etihad do have a bit of a reputation for flat atmospheres among rival fans, although Liverpool has been just as guilty of not creating enough noise at times. There have been plenty of occasions when Jürgen Klopp has urged the Anfield crowd to be a bit livelier.
It does seem a bit odd for a crowd to be as quiet after seeing their side win a treble. It's not exactly like what they're being offered isn't entertaining.
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