Remember title races between more than two teams that lasted longer than four months? They were fun…
For just a brief moment, the current Premier League campaign had looked like offering the most hotly contested race for the top-flight crown as we’d seen for many years – then Manchester City happened.
Pep Guardiola’s side have looked absolutely unstoppable in recent months, notching 13 consecutive league wins and effectively securing their fifth Premier League crown before we’ve even entered the home straight.
However, their start to the season did little to suggest they would embark on such a run – suffering two defeats in their opening eight outings – and club captain Fernandinho has revealed he delivered a speech to his teammates, reminding them of their responsibility at the club, and that this sparked a turnaround in their campaign.
“With the sequence of negative results that we had, there were two defeats, but my understanding of the level we reached in the last seasons, we could not get used to these defeats at the beginning of the season,” he told TNT Sports.
“It was the moment that I decided to talk to everyone and I did well of course with them.
“For everything we achieved, we could be better at that moment and I think they understood. I tried to show them our responsibility to represent Manchester City, what they expect from us, what the fans expect from us, so it was a very frank conversation.
“It was only between the players and from that moment on, the results started to be positive for us. It was fantastic because the reaction of the group in general was very good and I think they saw and felt the sincerity of my words at that sensitive moment for us.
“Everyone’s reaction was fantastic and I am very happy for the opportunity to do a job very important because when in the end when you lose everyone loses and when you win everyone wins too.”
Following the respective departures of Vincent Kompany and David Silva from the Etihad Stadium in recent years, Fernandinho was appointed club captain prior to the 2020/21 season.
The Brazilian is relishing the role, claiming he can have more of an influence on his teammates now his game-time at the club is being more carefully managed.
“At the beginning of the season, I was elected captain, chosen by the players and staff members and obviously and with my experience, I knew that I would have fewer opportunities for games than in the past – so I tried to put myself in one position that I would be more useful than just to play,” he added.
“I looked for this way to lead the team and exercise this role of captain and seeing where we could improve, where we were making mistakes, and we needed this speech to find where we were making mistakes.
“We had several conversations throughout the season, me with Pep, with the staff, with other players, sometimes with some other individual players. So that made me gain their trust in the moment that was very complicated for us in terms of results.”