Some fans interpreted the manager’s call as questioning their loyalty, but they responded with the stadium nearing capacity for the standoff against Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men.
He said: “Always when the game isn’t good I feel bad for them. They come to see a show, see a game and when that doesn’t happen I feel a little guilty because we don’t. didn’t play well.
Guardiola’s comments about fans on Wednesday sparked a heated debate over attendance at the Etihad stadium and upset some fans.
He insisted on Friday that it was never his intention and he reiterated that position after the Southampton game.
He said: “I didn’t say anything bad after Leipzig. I said we had an incredibly tough game, an incredibly tough game against Southampton and we would need the support of our fans.
“I have never complained about the number of people who come or do not come. I never thought of this in my life. I don’t know why people ask me this question. I’m grateful even if 85 or 100 people come.
As for the game itself, City were perhaps as tired as Guardiola had suggested.
They failed to shoot on target until the 90th minute and escaped a big scare when referee Jon Moss overturned decisions to award Southampton a penalty and send Kyle Walker off after a VAR exam.
Guardiola claimed he had not seen Walker’s incident but admitted his side, which had a late winner Raheem Sterling ruled out for offside by VAR, were not in song.
He said, “We weren’t good at our build. We lost some simple bullets in our process because we weren’t smart and a little sloppy.
“That’s why I have to compliment Southampton. We move forward. “
Additional reports by PA.