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Southampton v Manchester City

Guardiola confirms ‘incredible’ Fernandinho could return for Southampton game

18:58 EAT 29/12/2018
Fernandinho Manchester City 2018-19
Without the midfielder in the side City have suffered back-to-back to defeats in their last two games

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed Fernandinho could be available for selection for Sunday’s game against Southampton.

The Brazilian has missed the last two games for City and in his absence the they have conceded five goals.

The Citizens lost both matches - to Crystal Palace and Leicester City - and have dropped to third in the table. The 2-1 defeat against Leicester was City’s third defeat in four games and means they now trail leaders Liverpool by seven points.

The reigning league champions will be hoping to close the gap to Jurgen Klopp’s men when they face Southampton on Sunday, and speaking ahead of the game, Guardiola confirmed Fernandinho has returned to training.

“Everybody is fit but some players have some problems,” he said in his pre-match press conference.

“We will decide tomorrow but Ferna, Gabriel Jesus and Kompany have been in training.

“I’ve said many times how important he (Fernandinho) is – his position and qualities. Of course, he is so important, like Kevin (De Bruyne). We have to find a solution to win games.

“We tried (to recruit back-up) but the market was not there and it didn’t happen.”

Fernandinho has been struggling with a thigh injury, but his return to the side could be a welcomed boost for Guardiola.

In his absence, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss selected John Stones and Ilkay Gundogan respectively in a defensive-midfield position.

“We will have his (Fernandinho’s)  qualities again and he is an incredible player,” said Guardiola. "He is so important like Kevin is, so of course he is important we have to find another solution if he is not available.

A win for City on the south coast could help close the gap on their rivals at the top of the table, yet playing a day after Liverpool and Tottenham allows the pair to increase their lead over the Citizens.

City have a good recent record against Southampton and beat them 6-1 earlier in the season.