David Silva hailed the impact of two-goal striker Edin Džeko against Aris Thessaloniki FC while warning of the tough test that awaits Manchester City FC in Kyiv.
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David Silva hailed the impact of Manchester City FC striker Edin Džeko after his two early goals against Aris Thessaloniki FC put the Premier League side on course for the last 16 of the UEFA Europa League.
Džeko struck after seven and 12 minutes of the 3-0 home win, Yaya Touré adding a 75th-minute third as City booked a meeting with FC Dynamo Kyiv in the next round. The Bosnian striker has not scored yet in the Premier League since arriving from VfL Wolfsburg in January but now has four in four appearances in the cup competitions.
Silva told UEFA.com of his team-mate: "He's a great player and he's going to come in very useful for us. He did a good job today, scoring his goals, and let's hope he gets a lot more. Little by little he's finding his feet and I hope he adapts quickly to get on the same wavelength as the team. We're building a good team and let's see if we can win a trophy."
City, chasing their first silverware for 35 years, will visit Dynamo for the first leg of their tie on 10 March. It is their first visit to Ukraine but Silva has prior experience of playing at the Valeriy Lobanovskiy Stadium, where he scored for Valencia CF in the UEFA Cup in 2008/09. Dynamo won that round of 32 contest on away goals and Silva knows it will not be easy. "I've played there with Valencia and it's a difficult place to go to. We got a 1-1 draw so we didn't too badly. They're a difficult team and at their stadium it's very tough but we're excited about our chances of going through."
City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips said he would be texting Andriy Shevchenko, his former team-mate at Chelsea FC, whom he hopes to be facing in Kyiv in a fortnight's time. "More than likely I will contact him now I know we've definitely got them. He'll most probably get a text in the next couple of days and I'll have a laugh with him. I am looking forward to it a lot, he is a very close friend of mine. I've watched Dynamo a lot and we know how hard it is going to be, especially over in Ukraine."
For Aris, by contrast, a campaign that brought memorable home and away wins over holders Club Atlético de Madrid, is over. They never recovered from the Nikolaos Lazaridis error that let in Džeko for City’s opener, yet their large contingent of supporters left a lasting impression with their ceaseless singing. Defender Michel said: "They are impressive – wherever we go they are behind us and we have to be grateful for that."
Aris's Colombian midfielder Juan Carlos Toja admitted the game had not unfolded as planned. "We wanted to defend better and make it hard for them to score a goal and look to frustrate them. Unfortunately we made a mistake in the opening minutes for the first goal and then lost another one and to go two goals behind against a team like this is very difficult because they've a lot of quality."