Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says it is best for Oleksandr Zinchenko to play football after the Ukraine international’s victory in the FA’s fifth-round Clash Cup in Peterborough.
The full-back had the honor of leading the Premier League champions in a show of support against Russia’s invasion of his country.
Zinchenko was shown crying out for Ukraine’s support ahead of Saturday’s Premier League victory at Everton, where he was an unused substitute.
He played a full 90 minutes on Tuesday night as Riyad Mahrez’s second-half effort – his campaign’s 19th – and Jack Grealish’s first FA Cup goal secured a 2-0 win and a place in the quarter-finals.
Guardiola may have made six changes, but his team had 11 full international matches and praised Fernandinho for his decision to hand over the armband to Zinchenko.
“Our captain has decided to give him an armband to show how important the situation is,” he told ITV Sport before the game. “We are all behind this gesture at the club and behind my captain, who represents his country. ,
After Zinchenko’s name was cheered around Weston Holmes Stadium, he led City as he and posh captain Frankie Kent raised a Ukrainian flag.
“It’s Not An Easy Time”
When asked about Zinchenko after the match, Guardiola replied: “Yeah, of course, it’s not an easy time for Alex.
“He not only [support from our fans]But all over the world, in Britain, this is the crazy situation we are living in at the moment.
“Playing football is the best way for him. We qualified for the next round and had a good night knowing how difficult the FA Cup is.
“They started much better than us in the second half but the rest, we controlled the tough conditions on the pitch, we adapted well and in the end the quality of the players made a difference. ,
Grealish scored his first FA Cup goal after a fine pass from Phil Foden, which the former Aston Villa captain compared to an assist provided by Lionel Messi.
But Mahrez was praised after Guardiola broke the deadlock with his 19th goal of the season.
‘Mahrej is playing the best football of his career’
“He is playing the best of his career,” said the Spaniard.
“We know Riyadh’s quality and he loves playing football. It’s not a job for him, it’s a pleasure. He used to play everyday.
“We know his qualities. I am most proud of him because he loves to play football. Football is not a job for him, it is a matter of happiness. »
City ready for Manchester derby
The win keeps Manchester City’s bid for the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Champions League a treble, but Pep Guardiola downplayed any potential treble for the Premier League leaders.
“I’m not going to buy that argument, of course not,” he said.
And with Manchester City facing rivals Manchester United next Sunday, live on Sky Sports, he said: ” [Against Manchester] United, we’re trying to play a good game. ,
Keane prepares for Manchester derby
From Sky Sports’ Roy Keane to ITV Sport:
“I can’t wait to be there. It’s another test for Manchester City.
“We said they’ve been great over the years, but hopefully Manchester United will show up and act.
“The best thing for United would be to play in the counter-attack. There is no doubt that City’s possession will continue to dominate as ever, but United have been creating opportunities lately with some more momentum on the counter.
“They haven’t had them, but they’ll have to do it on Sunday because they won’t have that many.”
McCann: Benchmark performance for Peterborough
For Peterborough, that fiery performance has come against the backdrop of a relegation fight – one that keeps them below the championship and averages two goals per game.
For manager Grant McCann, who returned to the club for a second stint last week, the performance here should be used as a benchmark to look forward to.
“I’m really proud,” he said.
“We knew we had to be good defensively and have a good structure. (Ricky-Z) Jones was sensational up front and we had a great chance to go up 1-0.
“When you play against a top team, you know they will score goals.
“I told him later, ‘This is the benchmark’. It showed the energy and aggression you can play with. It’s up to me to get him out more regularly. »
“Peterborough should be proud of his performance”
Roy Keane from ITV Sport:
“You have to give credit to Peterborough. I thought he was extraordinary. He put his body at stake, gave his all for the cause, he had a chance or two and as the game progressed he gained confidence.” Achieved it.
“But as soon as you get a foothold in the game, you are punished by some very good teams.
“At the end of the day, we saw the quality of Manchester City, but Peterborough should be proud of their performance. ,
Peterborough return to championship action on Friday 4 March at 7.45pm as they travel to Huddersfield.
Manchester City next take on long-distance rivals Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday 6 March at 4.30 pm. sky game,
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