Fernandinho says Sunday’s crucial Premier League home clash with Liverpool is just the challenge Manchester City need as they look to put their Champions League disappointment behind them.
It promises to be a mouth-watering clash at the Etihad with third-placed City still harbouring hopes of reigning in league leaders Chelsea with 11 games of the season still to play.
And it’s an equally important game for fourth-placed Liverpool, who lie just a point behind City albeit having played a game more, with Jurgen Klopp’s side desperate to claim a place in next season’s Champions League.
It is the last league fixture before a two-week international break and Fernandinho says City are aiming to bounce back in in style after their midweek exit from Europe at the hands of Monaco.
“We have to keep our heads up. It’s a great game to play – especially at home in front of our fans. We have to give an answer to our fans,” said the Brazilian midfielder.
“It (Monaco) was not the result we wanted.
“We have two competitions to play – the league is not finished yet and we have the semi-final of the FA Cup so we are looking forward to that.”
Reflecting on the 3-1 loss to Monaco, which saw City go out on the away goals rule after the Champions League last 16 tie finished level at 6-6, Fernandinho admitted City were punished for a disappointing first 45 minutes at the Stade Louis II which saw the hosts go in at the break 2-0 up.
“It is not easy to score six goals in two games. Monaco are a good team – they score a lot of goals in all competitions,” Fernandinho added.
“We knew that but unfortunately – especially in the first half – we didn’t play so well and conceded two goals.
“After that, we created some chances to score and we did score but unfortunately, Monaco scored again to put us out of the Champions League.
Looking ahead, Fernandinho revealed that fellow Brazilian Gabriel Jesus, who made such a stunning start to life at City before suffering a broken metatarsal, was making good progress in his recovery.
Fernandinho has helped Jesus smoothly adapt to life in Manchester since his arrival from Brazil at the start of the year and said the teenager was doing everything in his power to return to full fitness as quickly as he can.
“Yes, we speak daily! He is recovering well, doing his treatment and everything is going smoothly,” Fernandinho revealed.
“We are hoping that he can carry on progressing as well as now so he can return as soon as possible.
“But he is well and very strong mentally, motivated and looking forward to start playing again. He is doing everything that he can to recover well and soon.”