Manchester City breezed past Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday evening.
Goals from David Silva, Aymeric Laporte and Bernardo Silva handed Pep Guardiola’s side a 3-0 win as they jumped to the top of Group F.
The Man City boss, aiming to win the competition for the first time since 2011, heaped praise on his players following the performance in Ukraine.
"Our first half was the best we have played in the last three seasons, since I've been here,” the Spaniard assessed.
It was a successful evening for the Premier League leaders - although things could have gone better for Oleksandr Zinchenko.
The 21-year-old took to Instagram to express his delight at returning to his native country for the match.
He was even given media responsibilities, appearing alongside Guardiola to speak to the press on Monday.
Zinchenko's return to Ukraine
Zinchenko entertained the idea of scoring against the club he played for at youth level.
“Would I celebrate if I scored? It’s a very good question,” he said in the press conference. “Let’s see what tomorrow brings!”
Yet when Man City’s official match day squad was released, Zinchenko’s name was nowhere to be seen.
Benjamin Mendy started at left-back, as was expected, but Guardiola found no room for Zinchenko on the substitutes bench.
And what makes it all the more awkward is that the Ukraine international had bought 27 tickets for family and friends to attend the match at the Metalist Stadium, per the Daily Mail.
It’s easy to feel sorry for Zinchenko but look at the position Guardiola was in.
Man City found themselves in second place in the group after losing their first group game, and it was important to pick up three points.
So, as a result, Guardiola started Mendy at left-back and named a strong bench, too.
There are plenty of Man City supporters who have little sympathy for Zinchenko, with one even suggesting he tried to bribe his way into the squad.
The fans have a point. Guardiola was in Ukraine to win a football match, that's it.
"What should Pep do it is not a friendly?" user @Leo10Guardiola wrote.
The young defender has been limited to just two appearances for the English champions this season - one of which came in the Carabao Cup - and it remains to be seen whether he has a future at the Etihad Stadium.News Now - Sport News