Fernandinho declares himself ready for extended run as Manchester City's emergency centre-back


Soccer Football - Champions League - Group C - Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City - Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv, Ukraine - September 18, 2019 Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring their third goal with Fernandinho, Nicolas Otamendi and Ilkay Gundogan REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Soccer Football - Champions League - Group C - Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City - Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv, Ukraine - September 18, 2019 Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus celebrates scoring their third goal with Fernandinho, Nicolas Otamendi and Ilkay Gundogan REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Fernandinho is confident he can prove the answer to Manchester City’s defensive crisis after Pep Guardiola confirmed he is likely to be deployed there over the coming weeks.

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City’s dismay at Aymeric Laporte’s serious knee injury was compounded when John Stones pulled his thigh in training ahead of their Champions League victory over Shakhtar Donetsk.

That left Nicolas Otamendi as the only fit centre-back and Fernandinho was used as an emergency one in Ukraine, something that’ll be repeated often as Stones works his way back to fitness

"It was a quiet night at the back but the team have made a very good game. It was easier at the back because we played as a team and the guys up front closed down the space,” Fernandinho told BT Sport after the game.

"I've been training in this position since the start of the season. Pep knows all about our squad and team. Today was my opportunity and I hope I can improve more."

Soccer Football - Champions League - Group C - Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City - Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv, Ukraine - September 18, 2019 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Shakhtar Donetsk coach Luis Castro look on REUTERS/Gleb Garanich
Soccer Football - Champions League - Group C - Shakhtar Donetsk v Manchester City - Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv, Ukraine - September 18, 2019 Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Shakhtar Donetsk coach Luis Castro look on REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

“We don't have many choices in defence, Fernandinho is the only one I have,” Guardiola explained. “He is a clever player and an incredible guy. He did it well."

Following both Liverpool and Chelsea’s defeats on Tuesday and Tottenham’s draw at Olympiacos in the early kick-off on Wednesday, Guardiola was just thrilled to start the tournament with such an emphatic victory.

"We saw the results yesterday and today, we know how difficult the Champions League is. We defended really well and we created chances,” he added.

"To start with three points away is so important, it is in our hands to reach the last 16.

"When you win the manager makes the right decisions, when you lose the wrong decisions. We lost one game in eight months and we will not doubt who these players are. It is a joy to be their manager."

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