Guardiola welcomes response to Zinchenko as Ukrainian captains Man City to cup win

By Sports Desk March 01, 2022

Pep Guardiola welcomed the show of support for Oleksandr Zinchenko as the Ukrainian defender captained Manchester City in their FA Cup win at Peterborough United.

With his country experiencing a Russian military invasion, Zinchenko stepped up to assume leadership on the football pitch after being handed the armband by Fernandinho.

It was a move designed to show solidarity with the 25-year-old as he waits for news from what Guardiola described as "this nightmare" in Zinchenko's homeland.

"It's not an easy period for Oleks," Guardiola told a news conference. "His family, his country, but playing football is the best for him at the moment."

In a separate BBC interview, Guardiola said of the left-back: "Unfortunately his citizens in Ukraine are living in a terrible and crazy and insane situation. All the people here at Peterborough, not just our fans, showed him warmth.

"Hopefully this nightmare can finish as soon as possible."

Goals from Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish in the second half carried City through to the quarter-finals.

Both were set up by Phil Foden, whose pass to Grealish for City's clincher particularly caught the eye.

Grealish later revealed it was inspired by watching clips of Guardiola's former Barcelona charge Lionel Messi in action.

"The pass from Phil was excellent. It was quite similar to the pass from Phil that he did to Joao [Cancelo] in Brugge in the Champions League, and the control was excellent from Jack," Guardiola said.

The City boss added: "They were brilliant goals. The quality for Riyad and the second goal the same. It was good.

"We created chances. All of them were brilliant. Riyad always had this quality in the final third – he is the best player in the final third that we have. He scored a fantastic goal. I'm so proud for the game he played."

There was cause for slight concern ahead of Sunday's derby against Manchester United, with Guardiola substituting starting centre-backs Ruben Dias and Nathan Ake at half-time due to what he hopes are only minor knocks. Aymeric Laporte and John Stones proved capable replacements.

The City manager said Dias was "not feeling good in his leg", while Ake suffered a blow when committing a first-half foul.

"That's why, for caution and to be alert, we made the substitutions," Guardiola said. "It was not planned. I would say it was a medical decision."

Related items

  • Man Utd's Malacia agreement revealed by Feyenoord director Man Utd's Malacia agreement revealed by Feyenoord director

    Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia, according to the Eredivisie club's director Frank Arneson.

    Lyon had been linked with a move for Malacia, but United have reportedly agreed to a deal worth an initial £12.9million (€15m).

    Having come through the youth system, Malacia has played 136 games for Feyenoord, making 50 appearances in all competitions last season as Arne Slot's men finished third in the Eredivisie and reached the Europa Conference League final.

    Speaking to 1908NL, Arneson said all that remains is for the 22-year-old to agree personal terms with the Red Devils, revealing: "The agreement with Man United is there. We are now waiting for Tyrell.

    "If Malacia says yes, then a transfer to Manchester United is imminent."

    Malacia made his senior debut for the Netherlands last September and has since won a further four caps for his country.

    Only two Feyenoord players made more appearances in all competitions than Malacia last term, winger Bryan Linssen (53) and midfielder Orkun Kokcu (51), with the young full-back featuring in 17 of their Europa Conference League contests.

    The addition of Malacia would represent new United boss Erik ten Hag's first move to strengthen a defence which conceded 57 Premier League goals last campaign.

    United returned for pre-season training this week as they build towards Ten Hag's first competitive match in charge, a Premier League trip to Brighton and Hove Albion on August 7.

  • Newcastle confirm agreement to sign Botman Newcastle confirm agreement to sign Botman

    Sven Botman is belatedly leaving Lille to sign for Newcastle United in a reported £31.8million (€37m) transfer.

    Botman had been linked to both big-spending Premier League side Newcastle and Serie A champions Milan since January.

    The defender discussed "very concrete" interest from both clubs, describing a "good project" at Newcastle, only for Lille to reject the Magpies' advances in the middle of the season.

    Newcastle and Milan appeared to be frustrated at the start of this transfer window, too, with Lille demanding a significant fee for a player determined to leave Ligue 1.

    But Eddie Howe's Newcastle forged a breakthrough late last week and agreed a deal that has now been confirmed following a medical on Tyneside.

    The Magpies on Tuesday revealed that the formalities of the transfer are set to be concluded this week, with the 22-year then officially becoming a Newcastle player.

    Botman, a former Ajax academy graduate who won Ligue 1 in his first season in France, has agreed terms to put pen to paper a five-year contract at St James' Park.

    Following the signings of Matt Targett and Nick Pope, Botman would appear likely to come into Howe's team ahead of Dan Burn, another powerful, left-footed centre-back who was signed in his stead in January.

    Burn won 4.3 aerial duels and made 6.1 clearances and 0.9 blocks per 90 minutes after signing from Brighton and Hove Albion for £13m, beating Botman's marks for the 2021-22 season in each metric (2.3, 4.5, 0.8).

    But Howe will hope Botman can be key to Newcastle's development into a more possession-focused side; he completed 53.4 passes per 90 with Lille to Burn's 28.6 at Newcastle.

  • Minamino ends Liverpool stay with Monaco switch Minamino ends Liverpool stay with Monaco switch

    Takumi Minamino has brought his Liverpool stay to an end by completing a move to Monaco.

    The Japan international signed for the Reds in January 2020 but was unable to establish himself as a first-team regular.

    During a two-and-a-half-year period at Anfield, Minamino scored 14 goals in 55 appearances.

    He helped Liverpool win their first Premier League title in the 2019-20 season, before playing his part in an FA Cup and EFL Cup double in his final campaign on Merseyside.

    While the fee for his move to France has not been confirmed by either club, Monaco are reported to be paying €15million (£12.9m), with an extra €3m (£2.6m) potentially forked out in bonuses.

    Minamino has signed a four-year deal with Monaco, who finished third in Ligue 1 last term.

     

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.