FFT Exclusive: Focused Fernando is Confident that City can win Silverware this Season
Ahead of the new range of football boots being launched by sportswear giants New Balance, FourFourTweet writer Jordan-Luke McDonald caught up with their client and Manchester City star Fernando Reges about the Blues’ season so far, their pursuit of a quadruple and the imminent arrival of Pep Guardiola at the helm of the club.
Manchester City supporters have had mixed feelings about their 2015/16 season, yet it has been a campaign which sees the Blues remain in contention for three of the four major competitions available to them.
They topped their Champions League group ahead of last year’s runners-up and Serie A giants Juventus, as well as completing a comeback victory over two legs against Everton to reach the final of the Capital One Cup against their Merseyside rivals, Liverpool.
And Brazilian midfielder Fernando believes that the next few months will be even more challenging, although he believes that his side can triumph on multiple fronts.
Following last weekend’s FA Cup defeat to Chelsea, Manuel Pellegrini’s men will complete a long-haul flight to Ukraine in order to face their next opponents in Europe, Dynamo Kiev, with Fernando hoping that the quality of his teammates will see them through to the latter stages of the tournament.
“We know that the Champions League is very hard and there are great teams in the competition.
“But we have great players and we know we can perform very well. We hope that will allow us to get to the next round.”
Within the space of a week, City will have played a huge match against Chelsea, flown to Ukraine and then returned to England to face Liverpool at Wembley in the Capital One Cup final.
Fernando, who has made 25 appearances for the Blues this term, admitted that managing so many fixtures has been a tough task, especially with City having endured over 50 separate instances of injury to first-team players this season alone.
“Right now, it’s difficult because we are playing in these four competitions.
“The fact that we have quite a lot of players injured makes it difficult.”
However, the man nicknamed ‘The Octopus’ claims that he and his teammates are determined to win silverware this season.
“We want to win as many competitions as possible. We hope that we are able to do that.
“Injures make things difficult. It helps that we have players who cover all positions, but this often means that some players have to play more games than might be good for them.
“We are trying to deal with this in the best way possible.”
And despite the heavily congested fixtures, constant travelling and abundance of injuries, Fernando is confident that the quality and depth of the City squad can come out on top against Merseyside outfit Liverpool when they face off in the capital.
“We’ve had the opportunity to play them under Klopp so far this season so we know what they are like – it won’t be a surprise for us,” the former Porto man added.
“We are very focused on the task at hand and we believe that we can win the cup.”
However, earlier in the season, Jürgen Klopp lead Liverpool to a 4-1 victory over City at the Etihad Stadium, whilst City have failed to beat any of their direct title rivals this campaign, including Arsenal, Tottenham, Leicester and Manchester United.
But Fernando is not concerned by this fact and believes that the sheer determination of the City squad to succeed will see them achieve success before the season is over.
“No [I am not concerned], but obviously we want to win all of the games. Unfortunately, there is this coincidence that we haven’t beaten any of the top five teams, but we’ve still got games to come this season.
“We believe that with hard work, we will be able to get better results against the top teams later on in the season.”
With the Etihad officials announcing in January that Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola will replace current coach Manuel Pellegrini at the end of the season, Fernando insisted that the City players are not thinking ahead and are fully focused on the season at hand.
“Well right now, we’re not thinking about [next season under Guardiola] – we are thinking about what we are doing now. This is all for the future – we’re focusing on working hard now.
“We’re more or less in the middle of the season – the future is something that we are not going to think about right now.
“The future is distant. Pellegrini is in charge right now and we’re just focusing on trying to win titles and competitions this season.”
Despite Pellegrini’s definite departure in the summer, Fernando was full of respect for the Chilean, who he cited to be a ‘great manager’.
“Pellegrini is a great manager. He’s very experienced. He brings his personal philosophy into the way the team plays – that is of an offensive team, a team that attacks. It’s been a real pleasure to work with him.
However, Fernando was quick to praise the excellence of the new £200 million City Football Academy, located on the Etihad Campus, and heralded its importance for future generations of the club.
“[The academy] is great – it’s an amazing structure, an amazing place. It’s one of the best in the world.
“It’s really great, not just for the first team, but for the youth team as well.
“I think that the best teams in the world, they don’t only need a great first team, but they need a great structure to carry on maintaining standards in a club.
Having witnessed first-hand the rise of young players such as Kelechi Iheanacho, Bersant Celina, Manu Garcia and Brandon Barker from the Elite Development Squad to the first team, Fernando admitted that he has been impressed by their ability and suggested that they have huge potential.
“I think it’s important to bring players through – it’s important to invest in young players.
“They are great players and they’ve got a lot of quality. I believe that they will have bright futures.
And on a final note, Fernando talked about his excitement for his new boots, courtesy of New Balance.
“My favourite colour is white so it’s great. I’m happy to use these white boots and the green on them makes them stand out as well.”
Hopefully Fernando will stand out himself in Manchester City’s upcoming fixtures in what could be a pivotal month in their pursuit of silverware as Manuel Pellegrini’s tenure at the Etihad draws to a close.
Fernando wears the new White/Toxic New Balance Football Visaro boots, designed for players who ‘Make Chances’. To find out more about New Balance Football go to newbalance.com/football or follow @ on Twitter and Instagram.