Fernandinho, Manchester City 2020-21Getty

'Do it at 100% or stay at home' - Fernandinho reveals how Pep pushed Man City back into the 'hurricane'

Manchester City captain Fernandinho compared his side's winning mentality to being in the eye of a hurricane - and revealed how Pep Guardiola whipped the team back into shape when their season was in danger of going off the rails. 

City look set to take back the Premier League title from Liverpool in 2020-21, as they sit 11 points clear of rivals United with just a handful of games still to play. 

But as recently as January the crown looked a distant possibility for the club, until a brilliant run of victories turned the tables. 

Article continues below

What was said? 

At the beginning of 2020 City sat a lowly eighth in the league standings, and their captain admitted morale was at rock-bottom.

"The attitude, the body language, the effort from some players, it was just obvious. You know exactly the kind of session I’m talking about, right? Misplaced passes, players not tracking back, not running, not looking interested," he told the Players' Tribune of that period.

"This was not us. This was not the team that had won two titles in a row, or that had set a record points total. 

"After that session, Pep came and spoke to me as captain, as the leader of the team. He was blunt. He told me that not everyone was at 100%. And, in this team, when you come to train, you do it at 100%, or you stay home. Once you enter the pitch, there is no conversation, no negotiation. 

"He was right. And he made it clear that the responsibility for keeping those standards rested with me.

"We were still at a point in the campaign where we could turn things around. Or we could passively watch it slide away.

"Our next game was away at Chelsea, who were flying in the league at the time. Before the match, I thought to myself, 'If these guys don’t run here, that’s it, I’m done!' I was ready to lose all morale.

"But, of course, we won. We won well. By half-time we were 3-0 up. We ran almost too much! 

"Thank God, since then we’ve been on an amazing, record-breaking run.

"We got back into the hurricane."

The bigger picture

That Chelsea win was one of 15 consecutive victories in the league achieved by Pep's charges between December and March, a run that transformed them from Premier League also-rans to overwhelming title favourites. 

And while the Blues ended their FA Cup aspirations at the semi-final stage last weekend, City are still on course to complete a treble in 2020-21. 

Sunday sees the club take on Tottenham in the Carabao Cup final, while on Wednesday they travel to Parc des Princes for the first leg of their Champions League semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain.

Further reading