If we lose, he played s*** – Guardiola happy to stick with Fernandinho in defence

Omnisport
Fernandinho has been exceptional in midfield in recent seasons, but it seems his immediate future remains in Manchester City's defence.
Fernandinho has been exceptional in midfield in recent seasons, but it seems his immediate future remains in Manchester City's defence.

Pep Guardiola is eager for Fernandinho to remain in Manchester City's defence, even if the decision draws criticism.

Fernandinho has been used primarily as an emergency centre-back this season, with Aymeric Laporte out injured while John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi have struggled with fitness and consistency issues.

The Brazil international has often looked City's most solid option at the back in Laporte's absence, despite the fact he is primarily a midfielder.

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And Guardiola has no plans to alter Fernandinho's role if his other midfield options stay fit.

"If Rodri and Gundogan are fit, I don't think so. I like Fernandinho there, in that position [centre-back]. I like it," Guardiola told reporters when asked if he would move the 34-year-old back into the centre of the park.

"I know he can play there, but we have Gundogan, I trust him a lot, and Rodri.

"Since I arrived here we were looking for a holding midfielder in the first season. Fernandinho was good [against Chelsea] because we won.

"If we lose, he played s***, I know that, but we won. So at Anfield he was the best central defender we have there, but [apparently] it was a disaster. I know how it works, this job.

"He was incredible at Anfield, he was incredible [against Chelsea]. He is so fast, in our build-up he's perfect.

"It is important to be aggressive as the midfielder but to be quick with the ball and to find solutions in smaller spaces. Gundogan has that quality. That's why we look [at him] in other situations."

While City's injury problems have come mainly in defence so far this season, Guardiola harbours concerns over Sergio Aguero, who was forced off late on in the 2-1 win over Chelsea on Saturday.

However, Guardiola has no doubts Gabriel Jesus – who has scored five goals in all competitions this season – can fill the void should Aguero miss an extended period of time.

"Gabriel has made one of the best starts this season. If Sergio cannot play in the next games, we will see, Gabriel will be of course our option," Guardiola said.

"[Raheem] Sterling can play also in that position but Gabriel is going to play there of course."

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