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"James McAtee is a special player..." – Pep Guardiola pre Fulham Press Conference

Pep Guardiola faced the media ahead of Fulham's visit to the Etihad tomorrow afternoon for some FA Cup fourth-round action – following the signing of Julian Alvarez from River Plate and contract extensions for Joao Cancelo, James McAtee, Joshua Wilson-Esbrand, and Oscar Bobb.


Pep on Julian Alvarez:

"Congratulations for City, they work to be in the present but of course for the future. It's a player that could be already with us now but we have enough players, I don't like to have too many players in several positions. He developed incredibly well with Marcelo Gallardo and his teammates.The best is to stay in River Plate, he's done incredibly well. In the next pre-season he'll be with us, after we'll decide what happens, every season the squad moves. I am personally really pleased to have this talented young player for the next years."
Photo courtesy of ALEJANDRO PAGNI/AFP via Getty Images

Pep on Cancelo's contract extension:

"Maybe the people won't believe me, but the decision to extend my contract belongs to the club, I'm not involved. Everyone knows how important he is, this season, the last 2-3 seasons. We struggled together in the first part, we didn't agree with things. Part of [it is] my mistakes, but now he's incredible. I'm delighted he's happy here and can play here for many years. He can play many positions, can play every day. He's beloved, so funny, I'm pleased for him, McAtee, Wilson-Esbrand, Bobb."
Photo courtesy of Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Pep on the importance of contract extensions:

"The manager has to work today, not even tomorrow. The club has to work for tomorrow, the next years, they never stop. The decisions the club has made to extend contracts is because they are working for the future, they have to do it."

Pep on McAtee's loan offers:

"Me personally, Txiki the club didn't tell me he had an offer for a loan, maybe it happened because he's a special player. These players when we don't have incredible depth, we cannot forget he's just 19, training every day is so important for him. These six months he'll stay here, train, maybe we'll need him. In the future, we'll see. Important is he's fully committed to the club, he's a City supporter, loves to be here. We're confident in him extending the contract."
Photo courtesy of Manchester City

Pep on the mistakes with Cancelo at the start of his City career:

"Normally now he's playing every day is the main reason. There are players who accept more playing minutes, others are not happy and have to understand that and the reason why. Full commitment. We know eachother much better, every player must be treated differently. I got more time to know him, how sensitive he is, he has a big heart. Some players you have to treat differently, I need time to understand, finally, I understand more. He's an important player, he needs to understand the way we play, he struggled a little bit. That was the reason why, as a person always was the same guy, a lovely guy. Not no arguments, real clear, Joao now is happy like players who play every game."

Pep on Marco Silva and Fulham:

"I am very pleased Marco what he's doing, I'm really impressed for a long time. I saw a few games in this period to see Fulham and I'm impressed with the way they play. I'm not surprised they're at the top of the Championship. It's not just the goals they score, the way they play, the positional is exceptional. Everyone moves for his teammate. I'm happy for him, I know him a little well, a good relationship at Everton and Watford. Now I see his team play much better than in the past. He's there because they play really well. Going back to the Premier League for Fulham is so important. It's no secret, it will be a good test after a game off. The best opponent we can face, they have a lot of qualities, they have a lot of alternatives. Many players have a lot of quality, happy to see him tomorrow."
Photo courtesy of Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Pep on the squad fitness situation:

"Yeah except Gabriel [Jesus] comes with niggles from international break. The rest before the international break are able [for selection]. Cole Palmer is not ready after the FA Cup had problems and still is not available or training since then. We'll see what happens in the next weeks."

Pep on squad planning:

"So important, the soul and the players who know the club because they are young. We are a young team except for Fernandinho and Carson. The average age is so good, the club has to work to keep these players. They behave in the years very well, they behave mentally. They all love to play football, incredibly focused. We have to keep them and the club has to win the Premier League. The pandemic is difficult for everyone, I don't know what is going to happen but the soul and heart of the team is young."

Pep on Riyad Mahrez following AFCON:

"[Returned] Perfect. Everyone is sharp, the week off was good. Everyone is good. He is so strong, he put behind the good and bad things so quick and handles the pressure. Not a problem."
Photo courtesy of CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images

Pep on Cancelo/personal relationships:

"I answered the question before. Every player is a world and you have to understand as much as possible. From other countries, you need time to understand. For me, him, the way we play. Joao loves to play football, he was unhappy because he needs this adrenaline to play. For Phil Foden, football is the most important thing. Sometimes you need time, points of view are normal. We know each other, everyone knows how important Joao is, he behaves perfectly. The club takes the decision for the manager, the players are more important than the manager. The club has to be in the decisions for the manager, we talk constantly but the club isn't stupid to know when a club has to continue for the next years. These players will be good for any manager. To take the decision to extend the contract, I'm so happy. We understand perfectly."

Written by: @NA1907_

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

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