He's incredible - Guardiola hopeful of Fernandinho stay

By Sports Desk September 20, 2019

Pep Guardiola is hopeful midfielder Fernandinho stays at Manchester City beyond the end of the season when his contract expires.

The 34-year-old joined City in 2013 from Shakhtar Donetsk and has gone on to become a vital – if often unheralded – cog in the team.

He featured 29 times last season as City edged out Liverpool in the title race, while he looks set for an important role at centre-back over the coming weeks following injuries to Aymeric Laporte and John Stones.

Spain international midfielder Rodri was brought in from Atletico Madrid in the transfer window, with every indication suggesting him to be the long-term replacement for Fernandinho.

But Guardiola has no desire to see him leave, even if he is unsure about what is happening in terms of discussions.

"It's not my business, I'm sorry guys, it's Txiki's [Begiristain, City sporting director] business," Guardiola told reporters when asked if there had been progress in talks. "Do you have Txiki's phone number?

"Of course, he is a joyful player," Guardiola added when asked if he wanted the Brazilian to stay.

"What he has done for all of us, especially me as a manager, our time together has paid off, it's incredible. He's incredible, so no doubts."

Left-back Benjamin Mendy is closing in on a return to fitness after he missed the majority of last season with a serious knee injury.

And Guardiola is excited for the France international's comeback, convinced he will add another dimension to City's play.

"In the future he is going to play a little bit more regularly and try to understand what we want to do, because he has missed two seasons without training and the guy, to understand things, he has to practice," he said.

"Just for the videos, or just talking, he has to train and play and play and play and always we dreamed that he would be an incredibly important player for us.

"With him we can attack more constantly, he brings a special quality that only he has in our team, so with [Oleksandr] Zinchenko we cannot attack the wides and deep, but his qualities are completely different.

"With Mendy we can do that. Hopefully he can be fit, healthy and play."

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    Jesus sent a glancing header in off the post to put City ahead 39 minutes into Saturday's encounter at Selhurst Park.

    David Silva doubled City's advantage with a wonderful volley two minutes later as Pep Guardiola's side moved to within five points of league leaders Liverpool.

    With his goal, Jesus brought up the milestone of 50 in all competitions for City, having joined the club in January 2017.

    The 22-year-old also became the seventh player to achieve the feat while playing for Guardiola, joining Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski, along with City team-mates Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling.

    Jesus is only eight behind Pedro, but Messi leads the way with an incredible 211 goals during four seasons under Guardiola at Barca.

    "I'm very happy, you know, because last season I had a difficult start to the season," Jesus, who has now scored in each of his last seven starts for City, told Sky Sports.

    "This season is going to be different for me. I worked hard as well. I focus on the goal all the time and I think that's why I score a lot."

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    Roy Hodgson had no qualms over the result but rued the fact Palace conceded the goals in such quick succession.

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