Pep Guardiola: Man City boss says grass is not good at Etihad Stadium

Pep Guardiola
Guardiola is unhappy with the pitch, despite his side beating Southampton 5-2 at the Etihad on Wednesday

Manchester City may be runaway Premier League leaders and chasing a quadruple, but manager Pep Guardiola is still not happy - with the state of their pitch.

City are 14 points clear at the top of table and have only lost twice at home this season.

But Guardiola is green with envy over the grass he has seen elsewhere.

"I know the weather conditions here in England are tough, but there are stadiums where the grass is good," said the Spaniard.

"We were in London against Arsenal, at Anfield, at Old Trafford and the grass was better. We were in Budapest in the Champions League and the grass was incredible, red carpet.

"They're working a lot, they are trying to find a solution but the grass is not good."

City bounced back from last weekend's derby defeat by Manchester United with a 5-2 home win over Southampton, but Guardiola remains unhappy.

"I'm not a greenkeeper, I cannot give you a reason why but the reality is not good," he said.

"We have to find a way from October 'til March, that the grass can be as good as possible. To avoid injuries, for better football, for many reasons."

City face Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

Groundsman in the clear

BBC football reporter Simon Stone:

Club sources agree the pitch is not up to scratch but no blame is being attached to head groundsman, and lifelong City fan, Lee Jackson.

The surface is the second oldest in the Premier League and City had planned for last summer to be free of concerts so the issue could be assessed properly, but the coronavirus pandemic extended the season into the summer and left room for only minor remedial work.

The issue was compounded by playing the 2020-21 season virtually straight after the previous one and the terrible weather which has blighted Manchester since the end of autumn.

If external ground operators can access the stadium this summer, the work will be done and Guardiola will have a pitch that meets his standards.

Until then, City can only tinker around the edges and have already taken advantage of a break in home games, that might extend to the 10 April game against Leeds, to reseed the pitch.

Around the BBC iPlayer bannerAround the BBC iPlayer footer

Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC

Also in Sport