'Today was my opportunity' - Fernandinho settling in at centre-back amid Man City injury crisis

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Clive Brunskill
The Brazilian is expected to be cover along the back line following injuries to Aymeric Laporte and John Stones which left Pep Guardiola short staffed

Fernandinho says that he is becoming more and more comfortable as a centre-back after getting the opportunity to start in defence for Manchester City against Shakhtar Donetsk.

Man City made short work of the Ukranian side, earning a comfortable 3-0 victory behind goals from Riyad Mahrez, Ilkay Gundogan and Gabriel Jesus.

The Brazilian, making only his second appearance of the season, started in the centre of defence for the Premier League champions, joining Nicholas Otamendi on the backline.

Man City are currently facing quite a crisis along the backline, with Aymeric Laporte set to miss up to six months with a knee injury.

John Stones has also been ruled out for roughly a month, with the England defender and Otamendi already being singled out by Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville as a unit that could cost Manchester City the title. 

With Otamendi the only healthy first-team centre-back, Fernandinho has been asked to play the role, and the Brazilian midfielder says he's more than comfortable doing so. 

"It was a quiet night at the back, but the team have played a very good game. It was easier at the back because we played as a team and the guys up front closed down the space," Fernandinho told BT Sport. 

"I've been training in this position since the start of the season. Pep [Guardiola] knows all about our squad and team. Today was my opportunity and I hope I can improve more." 

The midfielder joined Manchester City from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013 and has been a key fixture ever since, making 270 appearances in his six full seasons with the club. 

He has been particularly important under Guardiola, who only recently signed another defensive midfielder to compete with Fernandinho in the form of Rodri. 

Now, Fernandinho will be asked to drop back into the backline, with Guardiola also adding that he will likely turn to teenage duo Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis to address the growing injury crisis at the back. 

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"Other players can play in that position, but Fernandinho is a clever player, so intelligent, an incredible guy," Guardiola said. 

"He did well the first game he played. He has a lot of experience and personality and what he says, the people follow him in the dressing room." 

Following Wednesday's win, Man City will now look ahead to a match against Watford as the club looks to bounce back from last weekend's stunning defeat to Norwich. 

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