Captain, leader, legend: Lynch of Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho in the twilight of his career creates a great impact off the field under Pep Guardiola
- Manchester City do not need Fernandinho in the midfield as they used to
- But far from the public eye, they trusted him like never before
- Guardiola praised Fernandinho for his influence on the “behind the scenes” team
Manchester City do not need Fernandinho as they used to. Time passes, teams develop.
But far from the public eye, they trusted him like never before. As a captain for the first time, this group of players is under his jurisdiction and at the age of 35 he realized that this season – potentially the last hour at the Etihad – is one in which he can still leave an indelible mark.
Fernandinho is unlikely to start the final sixteenth final on Wednesday night in Budapest, against Borussia Monchengladbach, which City should send out of the Champions League with little fuss. It may not start when West Ham enters the city on Saturday.
Manchester City do not need Fernandinho as they used to as part of the action on the field
Fernandinho is unlikely to start for City in the Champions League clash on Wednesday night
Yet he did so at Arsenal on Sunday, masterfully crossing that line between the chaste and the posh; proof – if ever needed – that Pep Guardiola can throw him into one-off games without fear.
Guardiola will want that in the next few months, especially as City fight on four fronts.
‘What a game. Unbelievable. I will always remember him ‘, he was delighted with the Emirates. In addition, what has become apparent in recent weeks is the impact Fernandinho has on this team behind the scenes.
The decision to tell domestic truths at a meeting only for players after their last defeat, 25 games before Tottenham, is now seen as a turning point in the campaign.
‘We needed this speech to find out where we were wrong,’ the Brazilian said. ‘I tried to show them our responsibility to represent Manchester City, what they expect from us, what the fans expect from us. It was a very honest conversation. ‘
Pep Guardiola’s boss praised Fernandinho for his influence on the “behind the scenes” team
Guardiola does not have the right to vote who will take over the captaincy at the beginning of each year. Fortunately for him, Fernandinho won the most votes on the team last summer. Maybe it came too late a year.
The previous director, David Silva, has a lot of wonderful things – enchanting on the ball, smart, but the captain is not. He is not needed by the City anyway, as he has replaced gladiator Vincent Kompany. Key people around the team have admitted this since Silva left for Real Sociedad in the summer.
‘I knew I would have fewer opportunities to play than in the past,’ Fernandinho said during a fascinating interview with Brazilian TNT Sports. ‘That’s why I tried to put myself in a position to be more useful than just playing.’
The midfielder spent the first two months of the campaign pulling players aside in quiet moments and discussing with Guardiola where the team was failing, before choosing the opportunity to take advantage of it after the Spurs defeat.
Fernandinho felt he had gained enough confidence to speak up. Crucial to this was that the players saw a direct exchange between the captain and the manager in the locker room after a 5-2 embarrassment against Leicester City. They saw someone fighting for them. And the manager saw someone fighting for it.
Fernandinho felt he had gained enough confidence to speak in the City locker room
That realization dawned when the fog lifted. The problems were not removed overnight and went away by December, but there was at least a common cause.
On Tuesday, Ilkay Gundogan spoke about how the skipper is behaving. “He’s a real leader,” Gundogan said. ‘It just gives us the right things at the right time.’
Gundogan makes Fernandinho’s role sound effortless, which obviously isn’t.
It takes work and, even though he is not the first midfielder, he still lays the groundwork for victory, still acting as a backbone. Selflessness has always been his genius.
There is also genius in how he has adapted now.