Exclusive Interview: Fernandinho talks about Manchester City, Brazil and and how he hits the ball so hardFernandinho scores his first goal for the Seleção with a thunderbolt against South Africa -
You didn’t arrive at Manchester City long ago but have been able to adapt really quickly. How did you manage this?
The process of adaptation really was quick. I arrived here, tried to do my best and I worked a lot. I tried to do everything that the coach asked of me and I have managed, in these six months, to gain his confidence, that of my team-mates and also the respect of the fans. I think what helped me in this adaptation was the really hard work I did to reach my objective, which was to become a first-choice in the team.
You arrived at a team that doesn’t have any other Brazilians. How was this for you?
I didn’t worry too much about this. Regardless of having or not having someone Brazilian, I had to work and play to be able to get into the first-team and achieve my personal objectives. This is what I did. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I didn’t have Brazilians around me and I focussed on my work to reach my objectives.
How was your reception at Manchester City?
It was good. Everybody welcomed me and helped me a lot. I think this was really important for me because it meant that I was really relaxed and could commit myself to my work on the pitch. I’m really grateful for this.
You spent almost eight years in Ukraine. Why did you stay there for such a long time?
I don’t think that I ever really got a good offer to leave and this is why I stayed such a long time. Offers that came in were not appealing and the first one that really was, was the one that came in from Manchester City. So, I decided to make the most of the opportunity and leave the country after eight years.
You won your first trophy in England last weekend when Manchester City beat Sunderland in the League Cup final. How did you feel after this?
It was really important for us and especially for me to win a trophy in my first season for the club. It was a really important achievement and has given me more motivation to work towards winning more trophies.
Do you think that Manchester City can win the Premier League this year?
I think it’s possible. We still have a chance to win and to fight for the title right up until the end of the season. We have three games in hand and we have to win all three to give ourselves a chance of winning the championship.
On Wednesday, Manchester City have a really important game against Barcelona. What do City have to do to beat Barcelona away from home?
I think it’s going to be important to concentrate so that we can reverse the deficit. Everyone is aware that we are starting the game 2-0 down and that we have to do really well to turn this around.
On a personal level, what are your objectives with Manchester City for the rest of the season?
My personal objectives are to continue playing at the level that I have been, in order to be able to help the team turn around the deficit to Barcelona – which would be historical – and to continue fighting for the title in the Premier League, which is really important for us. So, it’s basically to maintain the same level of performance to try and reach our goals.
Recently you scored a goal for Brazil in the game against South Africa. Do you think that this has improved your chances of going to the World Cup?
Well, I don’t know if the goal itself was that important. I think that what mattered was my general performance in this friendly match. I hope that what I did pleased the coach. I’m going to carry on working hard for my club so that I can realise my dream, which is to go to the World Cup.
You only had this game to show Felipão what you can do and to try and get a place in the World Cup squad. Did you feel the pressure?
I was really relaxed. I knew that this would be the last chance we had so I tried to be relaxed as things are always better when I’m relaxed. I forgot about the pressure, I kept myself cool and tried to play football.
What do you think you have to do to guarantee your place in the World Cup squad?
Now I just need to play at the same level I have been for my club, because it’s going to be really important to be playing well at the time that the squad is announced and I hope that this will influence the coach’s decision. What I want is to play well for Manchester City so that, when the time comes, I’m one of the 23 called-up.
Did Felipão say anything to you before or after the game against South Africa?
He only spoke to the group in general. He congratulated us for the victory and for the way we played the game. I think that this is really important: to always communicate with the team and give them confidence. We look at ourselves through him.
In that game you played the first half a little deeper, giving more freedom to Paulinho. In the second half, when Luiz Gustavo came on, you played a little further forward and it looked like you were more comfortable. Where do you prefer to play?
I don’t have a problem with either of these two positions. I play both for Manchester City and it won’t be a problem for the national team. So, I am ready to do whatever the coach wants of me, regardless of which position it is in.
Do you think that the pressure of wearing the Brazil shirt at the World Cup will disadvantage the team during the competition?
It’s always difficult playing for the national team. I think it’s a kind of pressure that all national teams have to deal with, especially at a World Cup. I hope that Brazil can deal well with the pressure and that the players can be psychologically prepared to do well. We can turn this pressure into something positive, with the supporters on our side.
Where did you learn to hit the ball so hard, as you did for your goal in the game for Brazil recently?
I worked hard at my shooting from a young age when I was in Brazil. We used to work on this daily and it has helped me in my career. All of the things that I learned then and since then I still have with me today.