Zinchenko 'ready' to feature against Sporting, confirms Guardiola

By Sports Desk March 08, 2022

Pep Guardiola has full confidence in Oleksandr Zinchenko's readiness to feature for Manchester City against Sporting CP.

Zinchenko has played just once for City since his homeland of Ukraine was invaded by Russia, an attack that began on February 24.

That appearance came against Peterborough United in the FA Cup, with Zinchenko captaining City in a 2-0 win.

However, the 25-year-old seems set to start again as City host Sporting in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

City hold a 5-0 lead from the first leg in Lisbon, but Guardiola claimed he only has three defenders fit for Wednesday's meeting at the Etihad Stadium.

Kyle Walker is suspended and Joao Cancelo, who has been playing at left-back, is unwell. Nathan Ake has still not recovered from injury while Ruben Dias is expected to miss a month due to a hamstring problem.

As such, Zinchenko is likely to feature, but Guardiola insists the full-back is in the right frame of mind to feature.

"He's ready, of course it's not an easy period for him but he will be ready if he has to play," Guardiola told a news conference.

Prior to Guardiola's appearance in front of the media, City goalkeeper Ederson explained the support Zinchenko has from his team-mates.

"It's a very difficult moment for him. It's his country. His family are there, living in these anguishing moments," Ederson told reporters.

"For us who don't live there it is difficult. Can you imagine what it is like for him? It is hard to see your team-mate suffer and the civilians suffering in the country.

"We try to give him strength and bring some joy into his day but we know how difficult that is. I hope it resolves and the country can get back to normality.

"It will be very difficult due to the damage being done, the amount of innocent people that are dying due to a war that is nothing to do with them."

Related items

  • Football rumours: Man Utd and PSG leading summer pursuit of Victor Osimhen Football rumours: Man Utd and PSG leading summer pursuit of Victor Osimhen
    What the papers say

    Manchester United and Paris St Germain have emerged as the frontrunners to land the signature of Victor Osimhen in the summer. According to The Independent, Chelsea and Arsenal are also interested in the Napoli forward.

    The Telegraph reports Newcastle are edging closer to inking a new deal with midfielder Joelinton. The 27-year-old has little over a year left on his current deal, but the two parties are believed to be on similar terms with negotiations proving productive thus far.

    Tottenham have reportedly taken an interest in Sporting Lisbon midfielder Morten Hjulmand. The Sun, citing Portuguese paper Record, says Spurs sent scouts to watch the Denmark international in action as Sporting beat rivals Benfica 2-1 last Thursday, with a view to a potential summer move for the 24-year-old.

    And the i says Newcastle intend to send 19-year-old winger Yankuba Minteh out on loan for a second successive season. Minteh has been at Dutch side Feyenoord this season.

    Social media round-upPlayers to watch

    Alphonso Davies: Real Madrid are willing to offer as much as £43m for the Bayern Munich defender, according to Mundo Deportivo.

    Archie Brown: HITC reports Chelsea, Leeds and West Ham are all monitoring the English defender, currently playing for Belgian side Gent.

  • On this day in 2019: England beat Japan to win SheBelieves Cup for first time On this day in 2019: England beat Japan to win SheBelieves Cup for first time

    England won the SheBelieves Cup for the first time with a 3-0 win over Japan on this day in 2019.

    A 2-1 victory against Brazil and a 2-2 draw against hosts the United States saw the Lionesses set up a winner-takes-all final-match showdown with Japan at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

    Lucy Staniforth, Karen Carney and Beth Mead were all on the scoresheet in the first half as England were crowned champions of the invitational round-robin tournament.

    Staniforth put the Lionesses ahead in the 12th minute, collecting a flicked pass from Jodie Taylor before finishing low in the bottom-right corner of the net.

    Taylor recorded her second assist of the game shortly afterwards, hooking the ball to Carney in the six-yard box for the winger to nod home to make it 2-0, before Mead scored on the half-hour mark following a great pass from Keira Walsh.

    Victory came as a boost ahead of the Women’s World Cup later that year in France, where the Lionesses would reach the semi-finals, and England manager Phil Neville hailed his side’s efforts in the SheBelieves Cup as “sensational”.

    He said: “It was a sensational performance. I wasn’t that bothered before the tournament whether we won or lost, I just wanted to see an improvement and we go home knowing we are definitely in the right direction.

    “We just keep listening to USA, Japan and Brazil talk about how good we are. But we remain humble, have fun and enjoy moments like this.

    “You don’t get many chances to get your hands on a trophy. It is my first as a manager so I am just going to enjoy it.”

  • Ruben Dias admits Man City will need more than just experience in new treble bid Ruben Dias admits Man City will need more than just experience in new treble bid

    Ruben Dias admits Manchester City cannot rely on experience alone as they bid to repeat last season’s stunning treble success.

    The champions moved back within a point of Premier League leaders Liverpool with a 3-1 derby win over rivals Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

    That sets up a huge showdown with the Merseysiders at Anfield next weekend and they face the other team in the title race, Arsenal, later this month.

    While they will also hope to progress in the Champions League and FA Cup, City’s impressive track record over the course and distance could be a significant – but Dias insists there is far more to it than that.

    The City defender said: “Every new year it is a new challenge and every new year we must overcome what we’ve done before.

    “Even though what’s done is done and it’s beautiful, we know if we want to do it again we’ve got to go strong and deep again.

    “We are the same people. We are the same players being treble winners or not, that’s why we became treble winners last season. That’s why we want to win again.”

    City dominated the derby but the first half proved a frustrating experience after Marcus Rashford fired United into an unexpected lead with a stunning strike in the eighth minute.

    It was not until after the break Pep Guardiola’s side were able to turn the game around with two superb goals from the outstanding Phil Foden while the irrepressible Erling Haaland added a late third.

    City manager Guardiola hailed Foden, who has now scored 18 goals this term, as one of the best players in the Premier League after the game and Dias could understand why.

    The Portugal international said: “I must agree he’s one of them for sure. He’s always been special, he keeps on being special.

    “It’s no surprise for me and for all of us in the team and in the world of football. I’m very happy for him and let’s allow him to continue.

    “He’s obviously got a special ability. That’s why he’s Phil Foden and that’s why we all recognise the kind of player he is.”

    City are next in action when they host FC Copenhagen in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Wednesday, a game they go into with a 3-1 aggregate lead.

    Dias wants to get that assignment out of the way first before switching his attention to the battle with Liverpool.

    He said: “The derby was definitely important. Obviously it was a special one for us, but more than anything else it’s the three points and we move forward.

    “Now Champions League, focus on the next one, that’s the most important. Then we’ll focus on next weekend.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.