Mens Team

Fernandinho: Centre-back success down to Guardiola

PEP TALK: Fernandinho credited Pep Guardiola for his impressive displays as a stand-in centre-back.
Fernandinho credited Pep Guardiola for his impressive displays as a stand-in centre-back.

The Brazilian’s versatility has proven a key attribute in the 2019/20 campaign with City having suffered a series of defensive injuries.

The ever-reliable 34-year-old has slotted seamlessly into the backline, declaring his smooth transition has been aided by his manager’s advice.

Guardiola gives you a lot more information,” he explained. “Personally, I think the job you do there is so important as you help to defend and to attack.

“Of course, the culture is: who scores the goal gets the spotlight, but this depends on everyone.

“You have to protect your defensive line and when you have the ball, try to give to give players in front the ball in good situations to attack the opponents and try to create chances.

“I don’t think [I am being missed in midfield]. Rodrigo is playing really well there.

“Of course, we are a little bit different but he’s doing really well. He showed that especially against Burnley and in the other games he played as well.

“I think in general, the team plays well – the detail made the difference last week [in the Manchester Derby] and of course, we have to improve and react as soon as possible, and we have an opportunity on Sunday [against Arsenal]."

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City return to Premier League action with a trip to North London, having completed our Champions League group stage campaign with a 4-1 triumph at Dinamo Zagreb in midweek, returning to winning ways following last weekend’s Derby defeat .

Meanwhile, Arsenal also enjoyed an upturn in fortunes last time out in the Premier League with a 3-1 win at West Ham United on Monday night.

Fernandinho warned that the Gunners will be buoyed by the triumph, warning that City will have to be at our best to return north with three points.

“We have to go again,” he said. “We have another important game on Sunday against Arsenal and it’s our opportunity to show that it was an accident on Saturday.

“That’s the beauty of football: you have another chance – another chance to be back on track.

“We have to stick together and work out how to fix our specific problems.

"You know these kind of victories [Arsenal's against West Ham] give a team confidence – winning away especially under a new manager.

“They have some good young players on the pitch playing, giving them confidence.

"I think, as we do every time, we prepare the game and try to stop the ball arriving in to those players [Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang]. We try to recover the ball upfront.

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“We are going to analyse them and we know a little bit about how they play and we will try to stop them being able to cause us damage.

“I think that’s normal these days. You have such an amount of information from the analysis guys and I think this is really normal.

“I am a believer so until I see we have no chance anymore, I still believe. I think that’s the best way.

“You cannot think about Liverpool – just think game by game and in the end, we’ll see what happens.

“It’s not easy but I go into every game first of all to enjoy it; to play good football, to make our fans happy because they pay for their tickets to see the team play good football.

“After that, we then think about the table – who is where; who is in front of us or behind – but in general, I think first: to put in a good performance, and then about the result.

“Sunday will be one of the hardest games for us and that’s why we have to prepare so well for the next few days.

“It will be a nice game because they like to play football and we like to play football. It will be a nice game for the fans and I hope we can be clinical in attack and defence to win that game.

"I advise my teammates to put in a really good performance on the pitch and try to win the game because it’s so important for us, especially before a game against Leicester.

“We must try to get the three points there because these type of victories give more confidence and what we need now is to win that game."

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