Pep Guardiola has defended his claim "everybody in this country supports Liverpool", suggesting Manchester City's modern success does not yet compare to the Anfield giants.
Guardiola became the centre of much attention following City's 5-0 win over Newcastle United earlier this month when he gave a remarkable post-match interview to beIN SPORTS.
The Catalan coach responded to discussion of City reclaiming control of the Premier League title race by saying: "One week ago, we were [already] one point in front. But everybody in this country supports Liverpool, the media, everyone."
City are again one point ahead of Liverpool heading into the season's final round of fixtures, certain to win the title if they can beat Aston Villa at the Etihad Stadium.
Guardiola was asked to explain his comments and suggested they had been lost in translation, although he then suggested Liverpool were indeed favoured in England due to their history.
"I'm pretty sure my English is not good enough after four or five years, so maybe I don't explain well," he told a news conference.
"All I said was when you arrive to win titles, the teams with more tradition, more history winning leagues and winning Champions Leagues, they have more supporters through the media.
"It happens in Spain with Barcelona and Madrid, it happens in Germany with Bayern Munich, it happens in Italy with Milan, Inter and the other ones.
The Champions Wall update pic.twitter.com/eXUoO48Pts— Liverpool FC (@LFC) May 15, 2022
"We are new outsiders in the last decade. We were not there in that moment.
"Of course people don't want Liverpool winning, like us. If you win too much, they don't want you to win again. Of course the Liverpool fans want to win it, other fans don't want them to win it, they prefer us.
"I'm not saying all the country is doing that, but in general, because they are a team with history in terms of titles.
"If you want to deny it, deny it; maybe I'm wrong. But if you compare all the countries around the world, there are two or three or four teams who the people support more than the other ones because they have been there more times.
"Here it's the same. People support more United than the other ones, Liverpool than the other ones, Arsenal when they were there, because they have a lot of history.
"We are new in this position. How many times have we been in this position in our history? How many times? The Aguero moment, Brighton [in 2019], Paul Dickov to be promoted [in 1999] and then... I don't know? It's not much. It's new for us."
Guardiola has gone some way to establishing City among the elite, on the brink of an eighth top-flight title, the fifth-most of all time.
A sixth Premier League triumph – and fourth in five seasons, all under Guardiola – would be the outright second-most behind Manchester United (13).
United's Alex Ferguson (13) alone would rank ahead of Guardiola for championships in the Premier League era, while he could move clear of Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho (both three) for the most top-flight successes by a non-British manager.
The omens are good, too, given City have lost only one of their past 13 final-day matches (to Norwich City in 2012-13) and Guardiola has won five from five, the best 100 per cent record in Premier League history.