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First Team News

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Magic of the FA Cup not lost on Fernando

He may be new to English football but summer signing Fernando is au fait with the significance of Saturday’s clash with Middlesbrough.

Second in the Barclays Premier League meets second in the Championship on Saturday afternoon and City’s Brazilian midfielder is determined to help his side into round five at the first time of asking.

Fernando is well versed in the history and traditions of the most famous club competition in world football and he has revealed that he relishes the one-off nature of the tournament's ties.

“I enjoy it a lot because I like that kind of competition - the knockout element of the games,” he declared.

“I think it gives more emotion. Not just for our players but also for the fans.

“When I played in Portugal, the Portuguese have a culture of following a lot of English competitions.

“What I know is that the FA Cup is a competition that the English people give a lot value to.

“It is really traditional - and it is special because it gives teams from all divisions a chance to be on the same stage as the biggest clubs.”

Middlesbrough are flying high in the Championship table under the stewardship of former Real Madrid defender, Aitor Karanka.

Unbeaten since 20 December, with four wins in all competitions from their last six games; the Teessiders are one of the favourites for promotion back to the Premier League for a reason.

Because of this, City must show due respect to the visitors on Saturday, according to Fernando.

“Middlesbrough are a team that are really well organised,” the 27-year old warned.

“They have really good players - it’s no accident that they are second in the table in the Championship.

“We will have to play at a high level to ensure that we reach the next round.”

City squeezed past Sheffield Wednesday in the third round, needing a last gasp James Milner strike to secure safe passage to this stage of the competition.

Fernando played all 90 minutes for Manuel Pellegrini’s side on that occasion and he’s hoping to do the same at the Etihad on Saturday afternoon.

“I have played just one game in the FA Cup and it was against Sheffield Wednesday,” he remembered.

“It was a struggle for us to win that game but I could help the team to progress in this competition.

“So I think I have been doing some good work in the FA Cup so far – hopefully that can continue on Saturday!”

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