Pep praise for 'so smart' Zinchenko

Pep Guardiola has paid tribute to one of his squad’s unsung heroes.

Oleks Zinchenko is now in his fourth season with City and has clocked up 80 appearances in that time.

The Ukrainian joined City as a left-side midfielder, before adapting to life as a left-back.

He’s made 12 appearances this campaign and Guardiola feels he is one of his best moments as a City player.

“He knows how to play football,” said Pep.

“He’s playing at a good level, his consistency especially and he is always tactically smart and defensively, he is so, so smart he doesn't make mistakes.

"He knows what he has to do to help the central defenders.

“He made an incredible step forward the past weeks, playing Stamford Bridge, against United at Old Trafford and he is playing at a high level. Really good”

Asked whether the 24 year-old’s future is as a defender, the City boss added: “Well he is comfortable there.

“He is an attacking defender, but maybe he doesn't have the speed to play there.

“For our build up he is fundamental in the way we play. he understands the game perfectly."

And, continuing the theme of versatility within his squad, Pep was asked whether he sees a future without a traditional No.9. given how his team has coped without Sergio Aguero for so long and Gabriel Jesus at various points.

“There are games I need a striker and others where I prefer to play without,” he said.

“There is another way to read the game - sometimes we need one, sometimes two, it depends on the opponent and the skill of my players.

“Some games I need a striker, some games not.”

Watch the full press conference on the video above.

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