Pep Guardiola has thanked his players ahead of Thursday night’s (12:30pm BST) game against Borussia Dortmund.
The new City boss expressed his heartfelt gratitude to members of his squad for the hard work they have put in so far in pre-season, as well as their efforts to understand his new methods.
He also hinted that Fernandinho could play at centre back next season and told journalists that he likes to convert midfielders into defenders for one very good reason…
Guardiola said: “I think Fernandinho can play in ten positions.
“He has the quality to play wherever. He could play at centre back. He’s a quick, fast player, so intelligent, aggressive and strong in the air.
“He has the quality to create good build-up. We think he can play there – maybe Fernando too but he’s not as quick. I like midfielders to play at centre back because they can play good passes.
“I want to say thank you so, so much to my players for the way they train, the way they try to understand me.
“Every manager has their own ideas from the beginning to speak, to train, to know the way they want to live. That’s all.
“For the coaches it’s impossible to achieve a victory when the player doesn’t want it but that is not the case – they are great human beings and great players.”
Pep also touched on his disappointment that the derby in Beijing was cancelled and revealed that City could play a friendly in Manchester next week.
He said: “Tomorrow we are so happy to finally play here in China. We are disappointed by what happened – we need to play games. We wanted to play against United but the pitch was not acceptable. Now we’re happy to play this game.
“Maybe we play one friendly game next week in our centre. We’re trying to look for a team from the Championship or League One. Maybe.”
It’s been reported in a few publications that a small number players turned up for pre-season training overweight but Pep rubbished that notion although he strongly believes that being fit is very important for his methods to take hold.
“They were not overweight but I want my players fit,” Guardiola declared.
“For me, the weight is so, so important. We need to run, to fight, to jump – to have the ball. After three days, then another three days, then another three days.
“When you are not fit, that’s when the injuries come.”
Fabian Delph was present alongside his manager and the midfielder told journalists how pleased he is to be working under a man who has created teams he admires.
Delph added: “I’ve watched Barcelona and Bayern Munich play and I’ve been fascinated – the way they adapt to play their opposition. I’m excited to play under this management and so long as I can help my teammates I’ll be happy.”