x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Manchester City's Fernandinho targets flying start in Premier League

Brazilian recruit targets massive haul of points in domestic league before focusing on Champions League later.

Fernandinho says he can thrive in the English Premier League despite having a slight frame.
Fernandinho says he can thrive in the English Premier League despite having a slight frame.

Fernandinho, the Manchester City new-boy, is targeting a massive haul of points before the English Premier League club launch their latest European adventure.

After failing to get out of their group for the last two seasons, City are keen to avoid an unwanted hat-trick.

Yet Manuel Pellegrini's first season in charge of the Blues also coincides with a sense of weakness at Manchester United, who are adjusting to the massive change triggered by Alex Ferguson's departure.

It leaves Fernandinho to conclude City need to hit the ground running and gather in as many points as possible in the four games prior to that first Uefa Champions League match, which leads into the opening Manchester derby of the season.

"It is important to start strong," he said. "We need to get as many points as possible in those first few games.

"It is not a question of thinking about United. We have to think about ourselves.

"It is important before the Champions League starts in mid-September to get as many points as possible because after that we are playing Saturday-midweek all the time and it gets harder."

In leaving Shakhtar Donetsk for City in a deal estimated to be worth £30 million (nearly Dh170m), Fernandino was following the same path as another Brazilian, Elano, trodden six years ago.

Initially, Elano was superb, but as his debut season developed he found the going much tougher.

The demands of the Premier League eventually proved too much and after two years he had left for Galatasaray.

Although Fernandinho's career suggests he is made of sterner stuff and some pundits, including Jamie Redknapp, have predicted big things from the 28 year old, his slight frame does nothing to dispel worries he might find the adaptation process equally troublesome.

"The Premier League is a very strong competition," he said. "It is very tough and a different style of football.

"Obviously I don't have any experience of English football, so I don't know what the effects will be.

"I want to train and practise as much as possible. I want to have a balanced season, always playing at the same level."

His price-tag is high though, which brings its own expectations, even if he does not find it a particularly hard burden to carry.

"No, it is not that," he said.

"The expectations are high for everyone, not just for me. I am not worried by that."


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