‘The whole squad is calm’ says Fernandinho of title-anticipating City
Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho has no doubts his side have the composure to capture a second Premier League title in three years when they host West Ham United on Sunday.
Four straight wins, including Wednesday’s 4-0 victory over Aston Villa, mean that City effectively need only a draw against Sam Allardyce’s team on the season’s final day to secure the championship.
While City are two points clear of Liverpool, who host Newcastle United, their goal difference is superior by 13 goals.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side have recovered well after their title hopes were hit by a 3-2 defeat at Liverpool and a 2-2 draw at home to then-bottom club Sunderland.
Their recent run has put them in control of their own fate and Fernandinho has no worries about the team’s attitude going into the West Ham match.
“A lot has been changing at the top of the table over the last few weeks,” said the Brazil midfielder, who has been named in his country’s World Cup squad.
“A lot of results have been good for us, but bad for the other two. This was our first chance to go to the top of the table. The whole squad is calm. Every training session is about doing what we do and keeping calm.
“Maybe there was a few nerves in the first half against Aston Villa, but in the second half we changed slightly the way we play, and scored four goals.
“That’s great for us. In the next couple of days we’ll be just the same: we’ll keep calm and hope that we play a very good game on Sunday.”
A minor leg problem has obliged Fernandinho to start City’s last two matches from the bench, but striker Sergio Aguero has recovered from a groin injury that forced him to miss the victory against Villa.
Pellegrini is also confident that nerves will not be a problem for his side.
The Chilean says that his team, who clocked up 100 league goals for the season against Villa, are only concerned with three points and are not interested in simply trying to get a draw.
“Every team must play every game to win,” said the City manager. “It doesn’t matter in which conditions they are playing. Every team must want to win.
“I think it is very important for the manager to be calm, to try to repeat what we did the whole year. Preparing the game here is one game more. We must prepare the same way.”
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce will take charge of the final game of the season against a backdrop of growing uncertainty surrounding his future.
The London club secured their top-flight status with victory over Tottenham Hotspur last weekend, but reports have since emerged that the club’s owners are planning changes in response to fan discontent about the team’s playing style.
“I heard rumours,” Allardyce said. “The only thing I can say is I spoke to (co-owner) David Sullivan yesterday (Thursday) about arranging our usual end-of-the-season meeting to go through the pre-season and budgets and what’s going to happen, and had no indication of my position being under threat.
“Speculation is part of the game. Whether it becomes a reality, only time will tell.”
The manager intends to see out the season in style and has made it clear he would like to spoil City’s celebrations.
“At this moment in time, from a neutral’s point of view, I think everybody would like to see Liverpool win it,” he said.
“From a personal point of view, I’d like to see Steven Gerrard win it. It’s the last thing he hasn’t quite achieved for Liverpool and he’s a one-club man. But obviously they’ve let it slip out of their hands.”
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Published: May 10, 2014 04:00 AM