Pep Guardiola defends persisting with Fernandinho in Manchester City defence

02/12/19 2:42pm

Manchester City are without a clean sheet since a 3-0 win against Aston Villa in October

Pep Guardiola insists he is happy with the performances of his Manchester City defence as he defended his decision to persist with midfielder Fernandinho at centre-back.

The Brazilian has featured in the centre of the back four at City for an extended spell since a long-term injury to Aymeric Laporte in August limited Guardiola`s options.

Guardiola has largely opted between John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi as a partner to Fernandinho, with the Premier League champions without a clean sheet in their last seven matches in all competitions.

Fernandinho has partnered John Stones in the centre of defence in Premier League matches in recent weeks

Asked why Guardiola has not picked Stones and Otamendi together since the 3-2 league defeat against Norwich in September, he replied: Because I like Fernandinho in that position.

A 2-2 draw against Newcastle at St James` Park on Saturday saw City drop further ground on league leaders Liverpool, with City 11 points behind Jurgen Klopp`s side ahead of a visit to face Burnley at Turf Moor on Tuesday.

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Summer signing Rodri and Ilkay Gundogan have been chosen over three-time Premier League winner Fernandinho in midfield by the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss.

Have you seen the games? Guardiola added, when pressed by a reporter about whether he was happy with the 34-year-old Fernandinho.

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the 2-2 draw between Newcastle and Manchester City in the Premier League
FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the 2-2 draw between Newcastle and Manchester City in the Premier League

I prefer Gundogan and Rodri in [the defensive midfield] position.

Ilkay Gundogan will miss the trip to face Burnley on Tuesday through suspension

Guardiola, whose side have already dropped points in five league games this season, will be without Gundogan in midweek through suspension but he did not indicate who would feature in the German international`s absence.

We will miss his quality but we have other players to replace him.

Burnley sit 10th in the table, despite a 2-0 defeat at home against Crystal Palace on Saturday, and Guardiola was full of praise for the Clarets under long-term boss Sean Dyche.

Burnley have 18 points from their opening 14 games of the league campaign

What Sean Dyche teams play, the way he plays they do perfect, so they have incredible success in the last years in the Premier League doing what they have done.

They attack really well and defence is organised. They are tall, aggressive and a good team.

Guardiola confirmed Sergio Aguero would miss the derby against Manchester United on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League, due to the muscular injury he sustained against Chelsea.

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