uefa super cup

Guardiola defends misfiring striker Ibrahimovic

August 29, 2009

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola insisted his star signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic will settle in soon despite a disappointing showing by the Swedish striker in the UEFA Super Cup victory over Shakhtar Donetsk.

Ibrahimovic, who moved from Inter Milan for £40m plus Samuel Eto'o, was outshone by Lionel Messi, who created the only goal of the game for Pedro Rodriguez in the 115th minute.

But Guardiola said: "Ibrahimovic is such a good player that he will manage to fit into our system. Right now we have a little bit of a problem in that he has not trained much because of his hand injury.

"But his team-mates are going to help him settle in as soon as possible and he is going to adapt."

Both managers criticised the state of the pitch at the Stade Louis II stadium while Shakhtar coach Mircea Lucescu claimed his side should have had an injury-time penalty when Ilsinho looked to have been fouled.

Lucescu said: "I am unhappy because we played a great match and I feel a little bit bitter because it was a 100% penalty."

Barcelona president Joan Laporta confirmed afterwards they are close to signing Shakhtar's impressive centre-back Dmytro Chygrynsky.

Laporta said: "He's very good quality, we like him very much and we will do our best to get him. We are going in the right way and he would be the first Ukrainian player to play for Barcelona so it would be a great honour."