Pep Guardiola praises two Man City players for unusual roles played vs Real Madrid
Pep Guardiola hailed Fernandinho for his fine performance as an emergency right back against Real Madrid flyer Vinicius Junior. The veteran midfielder stepped in as a substitute when John Stones — who had been a big doubt for the game — pulled up with an injury after 36 minutes.
That meant the Brazil international was asked to play right back for only the second time in City colours, after filling that role against Swansea in 2017 — when he was also asked to be a left back in the following game against Bournemouth. Fernandinho had a fine game, especially going forward, although he failed to cut out a pass from which Vinicius raced through to make it 3-2.
On the flip side, Fernandinho’s interception and quality cross had teed up Phil Foden for City’s third, and he sent Riyad Mahrez clear for another great chance which the Algeria international fired against a post. Fernandinho stood up defensively after his error, and was praised by Guardiola, who also expressed his gratitude to Stones for playing despite not being fully fit.
The centre back seemed to have missed City training the day before the game, although there are rumours that he emerged to join in with the rest of the squad after the media — who are allowed to film the first 15 minutes — had departed. But after feeling his hamstring against Brighton last week and missing the weekend win over Watford, Stones struggled at times and had to be replaced.
Guardiola said: “Just say thank you both, John for the effort and Ferna, who has only played once there, in (my) second season at right back. It is not easy to control Vinicius he is an outstanding player but he did everything. I knew he would play well.”