Pep Guardiola hits back at Manchester City's Premier League Asia Trophy criticism

23 July 2019, 10:06 | Updated: 23 July 2019, 10:28

Pep Guardiola has hit back at claims Manchester City's tour of Asia is purely for commercial gains and not for the benefit of the Chinese fans.

City, whose flight to China was delayed by two days, beat West Ham in their first match of the Premier League Asia Trophy before losing to Wolves on penalties in Saturday's final.

However, an article published in China's state-run news agency Xinhua criticised the conduct of the club, suggesting they were not heavily-invested with Chinese supporters and only there to 'win wallets, not hearts and minds'.

But when asked about the accusation, Guardiola said it was 'far away from the reality' and the club were committed to the fans they met while on tour.

"I should say I don't agree and also that it's false," Guardiola said. "We had an incredible time in Shanghai.

"We were committed to the co-operation you have to do here in China. The people from the hotel, all the people, were asking us to do things and we were ready to do that.

"To come to Asia and experience the culture, the restaurants - it's amazing to get to know other people.

"That's why I can't understand what people are saying - it's far away from the reality.

Forward Raheem Sterling also said the China experience was a positive one.

Speaking alongside Guardiola at a press conference, the England international said: "Every time we got back from training to the hotel we embraced the fans, we signed signatures, we said our goodbyes. I thought there was a really good connection.

"We came a little bit later than we expected to China, the turnaround was a bit faster and a few of us struggled with sleep but I thought China was a great experience. You ask the boys, they all loved it."

City now travel to Hong Kong to play Kitchee in a friendly on Wednesday before wrapping up their summer tour with a game against sister club Yokohama F Marinos in Japan on Saturday.