Manchester City midfielder Fernando finds his feet in Premier League's non-stop 'running' game

The Brazilian is looking forward to renewing his rivalry with Chelsea's Nemanja Matic on Saturday

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Every footballer who comes to England is surprised by some aspect of our game. For Fernando it was the fact that players “are always running”.

“The football here is different,” said Manchester City’s Brazilian midfielder, who came to England for £12m in the summer after seven years in Portugal. “Players here are always running. It is a very physical, very strong sort of football. It is very intense and I have suffered a bit because of that as I try to adapt. And then there are things like the conditions you have to play in: it snowed when we played against West Brom, and it rains a lot. These are all the things you have to adapt to, as well as your team and the league itself.

“I am quite a physical player, a player who likes that part of the game – marking players, to help out his team, to provide support to the players in front of me. That was what made me want to take this opportunity, to see if I had the characteristics that suit English football. It suits me.”

When it comes to holding midfielders, few have had greater impact in England this season than Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic. On Saturday, when City play Chelsea, the pair will renew the rivalry they had in the Primeira Liga, when they represented Porto and Benfica respectively.

“I played against him in Portugal several times and he is a really great player,” said Fernando, who won four titles and the Europa League with Porto. “He has become incredibly important to Chelsea. He has so much quality. There are not many players like him left now, but he is one of those I try to look at and learn from as I try to improve the way I play what is a really important role.”