Fernandinho Manchester City 2018-19Getty Images

Fernandinho ready to fill in for Laporte as Man City look to avert defensive crisis

Fernandinho says he is ready to step up and fill in for Aymeric Laporte at centre-back for Manchester City, after the Frenchman was stretchered off in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Brighton.

After the exit of Vincent Kompany over the summer, City have been left looking short-staffed at the hearth of defence with John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi the only specialist centre-backs left in the first-team picture.

Making his first appearance of the season, Fernandinho came on against the Seagulls at centre-back - a role he has occupied before. With Rodri adapting quickly to life in the Premier League, the Brazilian find himself slotting into defence for an extended spell – but his first thought was for his injured team-mate.

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“Of course it’s not good,” he told City’s website. “We’ll see the news about him, we wish him a speedy recovery and to get well soon because he’s an important player for us. It wasn’t the way I wanted to come in, but in football these things can happen.

“Whatever the manager needs, I’m ready. It’s a different position, a different role now, and we’ll see. Getting ready for the next games, I’ll try to do my best as always.

“We’re going to try and fix it, not to concede the chances we conceded today. For the next games, for the rest of the season. It was good, it was ok.”

Aymerica Laporte Manchester City 2019-20Getty Images

Fernandinho is used to being moved around by Pep Guardiola, having filled in as a more than capable centre-half in the past. He played there in a home fixture against Arsenal last season, which City won 3-1, and has trained in the position since returning from his summer break.

While Fernandinho might not be the tallest player, his replacement in midfield, Rodri, helpfully provides the added height in the team that the Brazilian lacks.

Regardless, the injury to Laporte has come at an awkward time for the side. After starting in all but three of City’s league and Champions League games last season, the Frenchman – who had been set to make his France debut over the international break – will be sorely missed.

City return to Premier League action against Norwich City after the break, before the fixtures start to pile up with games in Europe and the Carabao Cup.

Guardiola will be looking for a way to keep his squad fresh as they face six games in 18 games, including Champions League group stage fixtures with Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb.