Manchester City have been accused of being “disrespectful” and “arrogant” by China’s state-run press agency after their appearance at the Asia Trophy last week.
Pep Guardiola’s side lost on penalties to Wolves in the final of the preseason tournament on Saturday in Shanghai after seeing off West Ham 4-1 in Nanjing last week. But while City were hoping their performances would cement their growing popularity in the country, an editorial with the headline “Chinese fans’ love for Man City goes unreciprocated on home soil” which appeared on Xinhua’s English language website on Monday appeared to suggest their conduct on the tour had produced the opposite effect.
Citing the failure of Guardiola’s squad to engage with local media and supporters, it goes on to accuse City of only coming to China due to a “desire to win wallets, not hearts and minds”.
“For the Premier League champions, their appearance in China was nothing more than a commercial obligation, and their lack of enthusiasm and the indifferent treatment of their hosts stands in stark contrast to representatives of other clubs,” read the article.
“For Manchester City, they saw their recent success as a reason not to treat Chinese and foreigners with the same respect. Above all, it was an orientalist expectation on display by the Manchester City press relations staff that Chinese media would operate as an extension of their PR department, rather than as serious football journalists.
“An attitude of arrogance and the belief that they were the main attraction to the Premier League Asia Trophy was misplaced and stood in direct contrast to the other clubs.”