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"He said he wants to leave, I said leave..." – Pep Guardiola pre Leicester Press Conference

Pep Guardiola faced the media ahead of Manchester City's Boxing Day fixture against Leicester City in Matchweek 19 of the Premier League calendar. The boss was asked about Ferran Torres' pending move to Barcelona, the welfare of players, the story about Phil Foden and Jack Grealish's night out, Leicester, and Kyle Walker's absence in recent games.

 

Pep on Ferran Torres and buying a striker in January:

"No, we are not going to bring in a striker. Txiki didn't tell me anything officially [about Torres to Barcelona]. They are negotiating, I know it’s close. When the club confirmed it’s done, but Txiki didn’t say to me it’s done."
Photo courtesy of Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

More on Torres from later in the presser:

"Absolutely not [wouldn't be disappointed], I would be happy. I said many times If you are not happy you have to leave. We are not a club like other teams when you want to leave the CEO and president say 'no'. Another issue is the agreement with the clubs, it's not my business. If the club isn't accepting the offer, you have to stay. That's why players have marvellous agents, they negotiate through the media, the weapons they have to do the deals. It's not the case for Ferran. Everyone, if you want to leave because you're not happy here, you believe you'll be happy somewhere else, you have to go. Career is short, one day it's over. If he wants to leave, absolutely no disappointment, I'm happy for him."
"Another situation would have been if, for example, we had just two or three attacking players – maybe in that situation, Ferran [would have] said 'ok, I have more chance to play, and maybe I would stay longer'. I don't know. Always I have the feeling if Barcelona and Real Madrid knock the door for any players, it's difficult to say no. So difficult. Still, they are the strongest teams in the world in terms of fashion, in terms of cities, and many things - many reasons. He's from Spain, and Barcelona knocked for him, I understand he wants to leave. And when he knocked my door and said he wants to leave, I said leave. So, call Txiki, your smart agent and try to make an agreement – if it's done, do it. Txiki didn't text me, I hear that it is close - really close. But the club officially, my club, didn't tell me anything about 'Pep it's already done, Ferran is leaving'."
"It's the principles. I cannot, I said many times, I cannot push the players, convince the players to do something when his mind is away from here. It [makes] no sense. The other clubs: 'no it doesn't matter what you want to do, you have to stay, you have to stay, you have to stay' – I don't agree with that, but every club decides what they have to decide. It's my personal opinion."

Pep on postponements due to Covid:

"We must take care, pay attention to these kinds of things and protect ourselves and other people. The new variant is here and cases are rising. Football is not an exception. Whatever the Premier League decide, we will support."

Pep on the recent Foden and Grealish headlines:

"Fernandinho, Ake, Palmer didn't play either at Newcastle. Some players go out. I will clarify but not to you.
"They are not rules, I'm not police. They are old enough to know what they have to do. We are living in special circumstances that we cannot live free like in the past. The pandemic is still here. Everyone has to try to follow us as much as possible. We are not alone in the world, we are living with people. Being careful, we are exposed. just be careful that's all."
Photo courtesy of Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Pep on Boxing Day and the number of fixtures:

"The tradition from Boxing Day is massively important. It’s a characteristic of this league. It won't change. After three days, because it’s tradition, Boxing Day is so nice for families to go all together to the stadium. The problem is the calendar 365 days a year with the international calendar - this is the problem that must be solved; players get three weeks holidays in the summer. This period for a week, 10 days it’s okay. It’s the reality.
"Maybe you have to adapt in the next two weeks. Today the managers talk with the Premier League and broadcasters and decide for everyone. The welfare of the players should be the most important. This is the only country not accepting five substitutions. We want to protect the players, so bring five substitutions. The amount of games, the Premier League and clubs decide no. What they decide, for City and myself, will be okay."

Pep on team news:

"We had two days off. Now we start training this afternoon and we will see. Every day we do tests. Maybe they arrive positive, or backroom staff. I cannot answer you now but hopefully, as much as possible, we are ready for the game on Sunday."

Pep on Leicester:

"Leicester remain Leicester. They have a top-quality manager with exceptional players in all departments. Seasons have high and low periods. The club work well in many senses. They are exceptional from goalkeeper to Vardy."
Photo courtesy of Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Pep on player welfare:

"If the players and managers come together and make a strike or something... just words won't solve anything. UEFA, FIFA, the Premier League, the broadcasters, the business is more important than the welfare. A simple example is the five substitutions. Tell me one argument to take care to be more welfare for the players than this one. Here we don't do it. We have to discuss that. If they decide, it's not necessary for them to do it. If we talk about the welfare, if it's just for the players, the association of players they say okay we don't play anymore until you solve this. Maybe we need a strike for people to take attention. You have to decide for the broadcasters and Premier League and the rest to take decisions on behalf of the welfare of the players, it's not going to happen.
"No I don't think so [whether it will come down to a strike], we want to play, make happy for people over December 26, 27, 29, 31 and play games. We love to do that. I'm not saying a reason to do a strike. But when people say World Cups, European Cups, Carabao Cup semi-finals two legs, FA Cups and Premier League more teams more games and less holidays. We play the first 2-3 games of the Premier League without players. Against Tottenham and Leicester, I didn't have the squad. I had eight-ten players. It's fair for the competition but not for us. It's not fair. We played Spurs with a lack of preparation and we lost, we might have lost anyway because Spurs away we always lose. It's not fair. Why? Because they need holidays. We talk about welfare for players in that moment? No. It's a problem, my friend."

Pep on Kyle Walker:

"He wasn't fit, that's why he wasn't involved."

Question: Is he fit now, is he ok to play?


"Did you listen to my answer to Anita? You were not connected? You are in the bathroom?" [laughs]

The answer in question:

"We had two days off. Now we start training this afternoon and we will see. Every day we do tests. Maybe they arrive positive, or backroom staff. I cannot answer you now but hopefully, as much as possible, we are ready for the game on Sunday."
Photo courtesy of Maja Hitij/Getty Images
 

Written by: @NA1907_


Some quotes as quoted by Manchester Evening News and Manchester City.


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