Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has admitted he has no replacement for midfielder Fernandinho.
The Brazilian has missed two Premier League games so far this season, with City losing both to Crystal Palace and Leicester City over the Christmas period.
How important is Fernandinho for Man City? Five key things to know…
- Fernandinho signed for Man City for £30m in 2013 from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk.
- The Brazilian has been an important part of the City sides to win two Premier League titles under Manuel Pellegrini and Pep Guardiola.
- His performances as a midfield general have even seen Fernandinho compared to Manchester United great Roy Keane.
- And according to Guardiola, Fernandinho is irreplaceable at Man City.
- Fernandinho (33) has won more tackles than any other Manchester City player in the Premier League this season.
Fernandinho returned for City’s wins over Southampton and Liverpool, putting in a man-of-the-match performance against the latter to bring the Reds’ unbeaten Premier League run to an end.
The 2-1 win over Liverpool also saw City move within four points of the Premier League leaders, and Guardiola has admitted Fernandinho’s performance once again proved how irreplaceable he is.
“Fernandinho’s specific qualities, we do not have a replacement for him – his kind of duels, the way he is going backwards,” the Spaniard told reporters prior to City’s 7-0 FA Cup win over Rotherham United.
“He is an incredible, outstanding player for us. Against Liverpool, he showed it again.
“And pray, pray [for him] to be fit for as long as possible.”
Guardiola is not the only person to see City’s lack of replacements for Fernandinho, with former striker Alvaro Negredo also hailing the Brazilian’s ability.
Speaking in October, Negredo said: “Fernandinho is a very good friend of mine.
“He is a player you find everywhere in the pitch, with good quality to manage the ball.
“He recovers many balls for his team and that makes him a very complete player. I think that replacing him will be a real problem for the club.”
“Every Premier League club would sign Fernandinho”
His game is not built on easily recorded stats such as goals and assists, and so it took some time for Fernandinho to be truly respected as one of the Premier League’s best midfielders.
But after helping City to two Premier League titles, the Brazilian is getting the recognition he deserves as a midfield general.
And, following City’s win over Manchester United in November, BBC pundit Garth Crooks admitted his belief that most Premier League clubs would want Fernandinho in their team.
“Regular readers of my Team of the Week will know how I adore Fernandinho,” he said. “There cannot be a manager in the Premier League who would not want him in his side.”
Crooks also went on to compare Fernandinho to former Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane, following City’s win over Liverpool.
“I said last week in this column that Manchester City cannot win the title without Fernandinho in their team.
“If ever there was a performance that highlighted that statement then his contribution against Liverpool must be it.
“The Brazil international was amazing and he is one of the most selfless players I have ever seen. It’s the stuff that makes players great. Roy Keane had it, N’Golo Kante certainly has it and Fernandinho has it without question.”