"Why should I not be excited?" - Pep Guardiola pre Everton Press Conference
Pep Guardiola spoke to the media regarding Oleksandr Zinchenko and the current situation in Ukraine ahead of the Premier League match away at Everton this Saturday. The boss also gave a update on the state of play regarding availability and spoke on the Premier League title race.
Pep on Oleksandr Zinchenko and Ukraine in general:
"It's worry, what we feel with our country where we were born. Killing innocent people, how would you feel. I guess that's how he feels. Of course it's close to him. Of course he has our support. We have people living every day together, it can happen in the country he was born, he loves, it's attacked from outside. He's tough and knows we are here."
"We spoke all of this, I spoke with him. Everyone, the friends. These are the headlines all around the world, it's concern. Aleks is incredibly strong, a really brilliant guy. Of course it's not easy but today and yesterday in training he was brilliant. He's ready to play incase he has to play."
"What would you do if someone abroad attacked UK? It's how he [Oleksandr Zinchenko] feels. What happened in Yugoslavia, no-one did anything. Around the world there are many wars, it's a pity. Innocent people will die when they just want to live in peace. All around the world you want a house, to sleep well, food on the table, movies, food, someone to love. When you are not involved, they attack your country and it should be complicated to arrive at this point. Always innocent people pay the terrible price, the decisions of one or two people. Still we don't learn what happened in the past. Right now in Syria, many places. At the end the strong part always kill the weak one."
"That's a question for UEFA [moving the Champions League final from Russia to Paris]."
Pep confirms Jack Grealish's and Gabriel Jesus' return:
"They are ready and so important for us."
"He's [Gabriel Jesus] so important in many aspects we don't have. For the inspiration, the movement in behind, the actions in final third. He and Jack [Grealish] are back."
The Spurs loss and the reaction:
"We had two days off, didn't train right after, then we train really well as usual. Part of the game, I know how we perform. Really good, we make mistakes, especially the third one. If you don't defend the last action it's because you don't deserve to win."
"Sometimes as a manager it's not the time to talk, the players know exactly the reason why we weren't able to win. Maybe another day we talk about it. We train really well, focus on tomorrow, then FA Cup, then derby, then Champions League. Step by step. When people say all the time ago we are a perfect team, of course there are many things to improve. We have to defend really well, they have incredible pace for the counter attack. Always Tottenham have incredible players upfront and always we struggle. They are a really good team."
The Premier League title race is heating up:
"When we were champions it wasn't in December or January. Yesterday we saw Wolves Arsenal, so intense, they are so good. What's next, try to win the next game. I knew it before, it's not a surprise. A lot of games, arrive not just against Liverpool good. Let's try to do it. Today we are in the competitions, the games we drop points recently, we played really well."
"When is right [to go on a winning run]? In December January we are champions? In the past we've won a lot of games. I wouldn't play if we were champions tomorrow. In the past we were able to do it, I never thought about going on a run. Goodison Park, Everton, new manager, they need points. Try to do a good game. My only concern. When we were clear I said we had to win a lot of games to be champions, I said it then, I say it now. Not just because of Liverpool and Chelsea. It's a challenge, it's nice. Many years winning the three Premier League in four years. We will drop points, keep going and if there is a possibility to be champions we keep going."
"Why should I not be excited? I'm more than delighted to be in this position. We want to defend it, attack better and try to win games. It's so tough, I saw yesterday the game, how Tottenham payed the last game. Every game is so difficult. What we achieved in the last years, the contenders are so intense. How they behave in Europe, that's why it's a big challenge but I couldn't expect another. From the start of the season I couldn't expect it wouldn't be what it is now. I'm more than grateful we're better than I thought at the start of the season. The way we defend some situations we didn't deserve to win, try to attack when defending teams in this way. For the quality we have isn't easy. Solutions, solutions, always find a process to improve to the end. Football team is never end, never finished. Every time we can go training to do better. Otherwise it would be so boring. Never felt it would be over. We want to be there and this is what I want from my team."
Pep on Everton:
"Sometimes when you make that comment ['new manager has improved the team'] you lose respect for the guy not there. I try to look at their strong points, saying good words for Frank [Lampard], bad words for Rafa [Benitez] is not my intention. They have good players, they are fighting for being where they should be from the history. It will be tough at Goodison Park but I have full confidence in these players. I don't have an alternative."
"Everyone in the world would think they [Everton] wouldn't be in that position [fighting relegation]. I'm not there to know the reason why."
Written by: @coIgcra
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