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.”Follow us on Social Media