Pep Guardiola admitted Manchester City’s struggles over Christmas highlighted their reliance on Fernandinho but insisted it had done nothing to change his plans for the January transfer window.
Fernandinho sat out surprise back-to-back defeats against Crystal Palace and Leicester which saw City drop seven points off Liverpool’s pace at the top of the Premier League.
And the injured Brazil midfielder is not certain to face Southampton on Sunday despite training on Saturday.
Fernandinho has been a key cog in the Manchester City machine (Nick Potts/PA)
“It is not necessary to lose three games from four to say how important Fernandinho is to us,” Guardiola said. “It is a specific position, we don’t have his qualities again. He is an incredible player.”
City tried to sign cover in the form of Jorginho in the summer, but the Italy midfielder opted to follow his Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri to Chelsea instead.
“We tried but when players don’t want to come what can we do?” Guardiola said.
“I never in my career with Barcelona or Bayern Munich, I never complain about what they try to do, the clubs. They do their best because they want to win too. They try to provide me with the best team possible and they did it.”
Jorginho, right, could have been competition for Fernandinho, left, at the Etihad Stadium (Adam Davy/PA)
But though it is a problem City have sought to address in the past, Guardiola once again indicated there would be no signings in January.
“I think the answer was clear two times about this issue,” he said.
Guardiola has never been one to compromise on his approach to the game, and insisted there was no reason to change anything now.
“We have belief,” he said. “We have the belief when the situation is win or lose. The belief is more about what we are, no matter if we win or lose.
Pep Guardiola is keeping faith in his players and his style (Martin Rickett/PA)
“We have to come back to win games if we want to still be there for trophies but the belief is always there.
“Why should I not believe with these players and what we have done in the last 15 or 16 months. They are absolute heroes for me.”