To Our live coverage of Tuesday’s FA Cup fifth round games – Peterborough vs Manchester City (7.15pm kick-off), Crystal Palace vs Stoke (7.30pm) and Middlesbrough vs Tottenham (7.55pm).
We will keep you up to date with the action from all three games starting with the English champions’ visit to the Weston Homes Stadium – aka London Road.
Pep Guardiola will select Oleksandr Zinchenko tonight after revealing how football has offered his Ukrainian left-back some relief from the tragedy unfurling in his homeland. The Ukraine captain has become a prominent sporting symbol in this country following Russia’s invasion of his country.
At Goodison Park on Saturday, supporters and players of Everton and Manchester City gave Zinchenko, and international team-mate Vitaliy Mykolenko, a warm response which reduced the City man to tears.
Guardiola has confirmed that Zinchenko will be involved, and probably start, in tonight’s Cup tie at Peterborough, with the City manager revealing how football is helping him cope.
“Yes he will play,” Guardiola said. “He’s absolutely fine, I think it will be good for him to play and show the reason why he is here. He is a magnificent player and needs to play football.
“Human beings have an incredible ability to adapt and overcome difficult situations. But, of course, when he is at home, talking to family and friends and seeing the videos, of course he cannot be happy.
“But in training with his mates, talking in the locker room, football is so addictive, the ball is so attractive. That’s why in a short time he can forget [what’s happening in Ukraine]. Then when he comes back to his wife and daughter, I imagine it must be tough.”
Another City player who would welcome the chance of a first-team outing tonight is Jack Grealish, the record £100 million signing who is yet to make the impact expected. But his manager insists that he is happy with Grealish’s form, despite the player himself expressing his disappointment with his game.
“My advice is that he’s wrong,” Guardiola said. “Maybe he listens too much to what people say because it’s wrong.
“The statistics are better or similar to what he had in Aston Villa, in terms of ball contact or closer to the ball. He had the chances… The players today play for the statistics, this is the biggest mistake they can do. We are involved in that.
“The statistics are just the pattern of information that we have. But the players go: how many goals did I score, or the assists, and they forget everything. This is the problem today in the real world in football. ‘It’s just my statistics, my statistics’. Statistics never existed before!
“It’s how you play today, if you perform at your maximum, your best and you help your team-mates to make the process defensively or offensively better, it’s enough. It’s thanks to that that you are going to win a game.”
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