'Completely Guardiola's fault' - Zinchenko distances himself from wife's criticism

Zinchenko (L), Guardiola (C), Sedan Source: Getty Images, Vlada Sedan Instagram

Manchester City full-back Oleksandr Zinchenko has distanced himself from his wife's criticism of manager Pep Guardiola, insisting Vlada Sedan was speaking as a fan and not a journalist.

Sedan is a sports reporter in her native Ukraine and posted a scathing assessment of Guardiola's much-criticised tactics during City's 3-1 UEFA Champions League quarter-final loss to Lyon on her YouTube channel.

City lined up in a 5-3-2 formation to match up with their French opponents, a departure from Guardiola's usual variations on a 4-3-3, while attacking options such as Phil Foden and Bernardo Silva remained as unused substitutes alongside Zinchenko when Moussa Dembele's late brace took the game away from the Premier League side.

“Perhaps I have no right to say this, and perhaps Zinchenko will forbid me. But to put it mildly, in order not to swear, this is completely Guardiola's fault," Sedan said.

"At such a crucial moment, using such an experimental tactic for City was a bummer. I have no right to criticise, but why play three central defenders?

"I simply have no words because to have such a line-up... look at the players City have, what a bench. Literally only a few clubs in the world can boast having such players at substitutes.”

Zinchenko, who also appeared in the video, took time out from the couple's wedding celebrations to post a statement on his Instagram story, insisting he still holds Guardiola in the highest regard.

"Guys, I need to say a few things about this interview," it read.

"First of all, I didn't say anything bad or judgemental about our tactics, so don't confuse my words, please.

"I was explaining that we as players understand the effect tactics have and how, given we have such great experience, we can adapt to the tactics we are given.

"On the night, we lost to Lyon but that doesn't mean the manager was wrong to try.

"If you have seen my interviews in the past and the way I talk about our manager then you can believe me. He is number one."

He added: "Second one, about my wife. Although she is a journalist, she is also a fan. During all the season she was travelling with us for all away and home games because she is a massive City fan.

"In the video, you can see her emotions straight after the game and she gave an opinion like all fans do because she wanted us to do better.

"We totally understand now that she shouldn't post it in the social media because she is my wife, but she was not trying to make a journalist's opinion on the manager of the team, she was simply reacting to her disappointment as a fan."

Signed as a midfielder from FC Ufa in 2016, Zinchenko established himself as a surprise first-team fixture under Guardiola after an unsuccessful loan at PSV.

He made 29 appearances in 2018-19, concluding the season as first-choice at left-back as City won an unprecedented domestic treble.

The 23-year-old found the going tougher last term as Benjamin Mendy returned to regular fitness and he failed to start any of City's final five Premier League games, with right-back Joao Cancelo preferred on the left-hand side of defence against Real Madrid and Lyon.

Angelino's return from a successful loan at RB Leipzig, which has attracted interest from Barcelona, could further complicate matters at left-back.

Source Omnisport