Manchester City will be facing Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday, 9th March but the Premier Champions are hit hard by many player absenteeism due to injuries, suspension, and illness.
Despite winning the first tie 5-0 at Portugal, City’s manager, Pep, Guardiola has said that the tie remains open. The PL champions are without several players and currently have a mere 14 of the total first team squad members fit.
This has raised questions of whether Pep might involve the Ukrainian professional defender, Oleksandr Zinchenko in the game.
“He is ready.” Of course it is not an easy period for him, absolutely not, but I think he will be ready just in case he has to play.” The Manchester City manager said.
Kyle Walker is still serving a 3 match ban as a result of the Red Card during City’s last final group match against RB Leipzig. Guardiola is angry at the English International defender because his absence have worsen City’s selection dilemma.
Even so, Ruben Dias, a key and important defender and Nathan Ake are injured and ruled out of the game. Joao Cancelo who is also on form is ill and might not recover on time to play.
“We have only 14 players available. We have three defenders so we have to adapt,” said Guardiola.
City are playing Sporting Lisbon with a huge advantage and in the history of Champions League football no team have ever made a comeback from 5-0 down. Nevertheless, Guardiola have rule out City’s automatic qualifications and has urged the players to be focused.
“Football is unpredictable in many cases – [there] can be red cards, can be distractions or the qualities of the opponent and that’s why we will take a top side as much as possible,” Guardiola said ahead of the tie.
He is also specifically angry at Kyle Walker as only 3 of City’s first team regulars are fit. Nevertheless, the manager made it known that there are concerns about playing Zinchenko if that was a necessity.
The Ukrainian defender has been badly affected by the ongoing war between his country and Russia. He was one of those who publicly condemned the action and was has not featured for City in recent weeks.
Moreover, Kevin De Bryune, one of City’s key midfielders might not be involved. The Belgian is one yellow card away from being suspended.