Pep Guardiola has urged the UK public to trust the advice of doctors and scientists in order to stave off the worst effects of another wave of Covid-19.
The Spaniard, whose mother passed away after contracting the virus last April, was asked about the possibility of the Premier League potentially returning to behind closed doors games as a result of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
But, while he admitted such an outcome was far from ideal, Guardiola was more keen to highlight the importance of scientific guidance on vaccination and mask-wearing, much of which he feels has been disregarded of late.
On the prospect of games without fans, he said: “I would not love it, honestly. You cannot imagine how different it is playing with the people to without the people, there’s no comparing.
“In the end, we played behind closed doors to [save] the economy of football, for the broadcasters. Thanks to that we could get our salaries and the people could play football.
“But the cases rise all around the world and the UK and these people come to the stadium and can contaminate.
Manchester City FC via Getty Images)
“Then, in the stadium, these people don’t use masks, it’s what surprises me the most.
“You go to the street, you go to big malls to buy presents for the family, and no-one uses a mask.
“The people from the beginning say, the more protection you can have, it’s hand sanitisers and this (a mask).
“People don’t wear it and I’m surprised. In Spain, I think it is an obligation in outdoor places, so in the street you have to wear it.
“I think we should come back and start again. Vaccination, the booster, people have to decide, but hand sanitisers, social distancing and masks is the best way we can protect ourselves, our families and the rest of the people.
“Like this, the restaurants still could be open, the football could go on.
“I’m not a scientist or a doctor, maybe I’m saying a stupid thing, but I trust the doctors and the scientists because they know absolutely more than I know – I don’t know anything about medicine.
“I want to trust the people that know who say, ‘This is the safest vaccine, people don’t die if they take a vaccine, people can die if they don’t take a vaccine’.
“Wearing a mask is so important, social distancing is so important, hand sanitising is so important, so we have to try to do it.
“Otherwise, another [lockdown] is maybe coming and it will be again and again and again.”