Fernandinho made his debut as a center-back in Manchester City’s Champions League group stage clash and did well against Shakhtar Donetsk. Pep Guardiola’s hand was forced after injuries left the club with just one available center-back, although Kyle Walker has been used more centrally by England.
Injuries to both John Stones and Aymeric Laporte have left Manchester City with just one center-back and without a proper first-team pair. However, with Fernandinho reportedly being groomed to play as a central defender, the Brazilian made his debut as a center-back against Shaktar. It saw him play alongside Nicolas Otamendi, now the only fit center-back for the club, in defense and the 34-year-old looked as if he was born to play in that position.
While it was against a toothless Shakhtar Donetsk, the midfielder turned center-back had a quietly impressive game alongside Otamendi. It has seen Pep Guardiola come out and say that he always believed that the Brazilian could flourish as a defender, adding that it was a desperate move as the club did not have any other option but to use the ageing Brazilian.
"That's why he is so important for us. We don't have many choices. I think he is the only one I have [at centre-back]. Other players can play in that position but Fernandinho is a clever player and so intelligent - an incredible guy. He did well the first game he played this season. Of course, he has a lot of experience and personality, and what he says the people follow him in the locker room so it's important. I didn't have doubts that he would look so comfortable in the back four,” said Guardiola reports the BBC.
The 34-year-old finished his night with a passing accuracy of 90%, two interceptions and two solid headers won which made for a good night. But with Dinamo Zagreb and Atlanta yet to face Manchester City, and Stones out for at least another month or so, Fernandinho’s presence will be key to any success that the Cityzens have both in the Premier League and in Europe.
"Pep knows everything about our squad and team and when he needs us, every player should be ready. Today was my time and opportunity and I hope I can get better and improve a little bit more. It was a quiet night [for the defence]. I think the team made a very good game starting with the guys up front, who closed the spaces,” said the Brazilian reports the BBC.
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