Men's Team

"Even as a kid, I never dreamed this would be a possibility," says Zinchenko

Oleksandr Zinchenko says the possibility of playing a Champions League final is beyond his wildest dreams.

The Ukrainian left-back has enjoyed his best season yet for City and at 24, has his best years ahead of him.

He has made 31 appearances this campaign and one more on Saturday would see him celebrating his 100th appearance for the Club in a Champions League final – a prospect he didn’t even think could be a reality as a youngster in Radomyshl.

“I couldn’t even dream when I was a kid that one day I could be in the Champions League final,” said Zinchenko.

 

“But dreams come true and everyone is so excited about this. We are just trying to prepare ourselves as much as we can and hopefully we can do our job.

“Everyone wants to get the Champions League trophy and everyone wants to achieve this.

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“We are going to prepare as much as we can and try our best. Every football player is dreaming about lifting this title because it is so nice. This is something special. You have to dream about things sometimes because dreams come true.”

Zinchenko admits that Chelsea present a formidable hurdle to turn those dreams into a reality.

The recent FA Cup semi-final and Premier League defeats to the West Londoners have had some pundits suggesting Chelsea have a way of playing City – but Zinchenko just feels that makes the game even more fascinating.

“They are one of the best clubs in the world, that is why they are there,” he said.

“They have a lot of quality players and they organise well, defensively. They have a good manager who has been doing well and it is going to be a very interesting game.

“There is a final, there is no underdogs, and it is going to be another game, completely different game to the Premier League because this is a final of the Champions League.”

“I am excited about the final, but at the same time I am a little bit nervous which is normal as I am a human being and we are not machines. I guess everyone has a little bit of nerves which is normal.

“As soon as you are on the pitch you have to take it out and just be focused on the game. Everyone is dreaming about this and wants to lift it. We are just doing our job and the rest is not for us.”

Zinchenko feels concentration and team spirit are crucial elements the City players need to take into the final – that, plus a rub of the green on the day.

“First of all, I think we just need to focus. Focusing on the game and what you have to do on the pitch,” he said.

“Also, togetherness; we have to be like one team and like we are and what we have done in the past for the last couple of years.

“Maybe in the end you have to be a bit lucky, but you have to deserve this luck, that is the most important thing. You have to work hard and deserve it.

“To be a part of this club is an amazing feeling and every year here is special. We always try to achieve every title and every competition and that is why every season is special.

“The difference this and between previous seasons was that we reached the final and that is why it is a bit different. I cannot tell you that this season is completely different to the others because the way we are working hard, the way we play, the feeling inside the dressing room is the same during all these years.”

And his thoughts on Pep Guardiola remain unchanged, as he added: “Like I have said many times, he is number one in the world and my opinion is that his quality is the best quality.

“He is very good on the tactical side, but one of his qualities is that he knows what he has to say at the right time.

“I am pretty sure he is going to find the right words to say to the team because he is number one in the world and he has got that experience.”

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