Manchester City were well short of a sell out at the Etihad Stadium for last night’s Champions League defeat to Lyon, with over 13,000 seats left unoccupied.
Many of those were in the away end, with Lyon bringing only 600 fans and City not reselling the upper tiers to home supporters due to a lack of demand in regular areas.
Not for the first time, City fans were cool on a midweek cup game, with 40,111 in attendance, compared to 53,307 at the weekend against Fulham.
Given reduced capacity for UEFA Champions League games, that means there were roughly 13,400 empty seats, something that was brought up across social media and even among City fans as the lack of glamour opposition failed to attract Blues.
That lack of glamour opposition, Lyon, impressed and pulled off a huge win that leaves Pep Guardiola’s men with much work to do in the weeks ahead if they are to top the group and qualify.
Pep will be back on the touchline for the next game, but his replacement last night, Mikel Arteta, wouldn’t blame the result on the attendance.
“I wouldn’t like to use that as an excuse, we had that type of crowd in the Champions League before and we were able to win,” Arteta said, and it is true – particular for some smaller games in the past.
He continued: “The ideal is to have a full stadium every time and being behind the team like crazy but we know sometimes it doesn’t happen.”
Arteta said the performance wasn’t up to standard and blasted his players for the mistakes, which Lyon ruthlessly punished.
“At this level, it’s not good enough.
“You have zero margin in the Champions League. When you make mistakes, you get punished.
“Whether it is a lack of attention, not winning the duels, losing simple balls or not being effective enough, you pay the price and this is another great example of that.”