Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has hailed defender Oleksandr Zinchenko’s mental fortitude, on the back of his stellar performance against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League semi-final second-leg on Tuesday night.
The Ukrainian international has dipped in and out of the team throughout his years at the Etihad stadium, but has recently found himself in his best run of form since joining the club from FC Ufa.
Not only did Zinchenko drop out of the squad at times, but the defender also turned down transfers in order to fight for his place in Pep Guardiola’s squad, as confirmed by the Catalan boss himself during a recent press conference.
Speaking ahead of the weekend's vital Premier League clash against Chelsea on Saturday afternoon, Pep Guardiola said of his converted full-back, "Oleks [Zinchenko] fought a lot to be at Man City, a transfer was possible, he said ‘no I want to be here’."
"That means a lot. He’s a guy who played in another position, never complains. He doesn’t make mistakes. When you say something, he reads it immediately."
He went on to say, "He is always focused, always concentrated. As a left-back he fights against Salah, Rashford, Di Maria, the toughest opponents and he doesn’t make mistakes. The quality with the ball is exceptional, we know it..."
The Manchester City boss was also keen to highlight the cleanliness of Oleksandr Zinchenko’s game this season, citing it as his ticket into a starting role for the big games - namely the clash against Mauricio Pochettino's Ligue 1 giants in midweek.
"In a defensive back four the most important thing is don’t do mistakes. When he played in Dortmund, in the last game, always this season he’s stable in that. That is why he deserves to play.”
Oleksandr Zinchenko's impressive form at club level played a crucial part in the Ukrainian international securing the captaincy for his nation in the recent international break, and his continued upwards trajectory in terms of development may force Etihad officials into a change of mind when it comes to their transfer plans for the upcoming summer window.
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