Sylvinho: I know what it takes to beat United

City defender who played in Champions League final will relish Manchester derby

It is a measure of the fact that Manchester City enter an Old Trafford derby match on parity with their neighbours for the first time in perhaps 40 years on Sunday that one of the stars of the Barcelona's European conquistadores will be reduced to a seat on Mark Hughes' bench.

Sylvinho's outstanding wing-back's performance against Manchester United in Rome in May was forgotten amid the paeans to Pep Guardiola's midfield architects, but it contributed to Wayne Rooney's quiet night at the Stadio Olimpico and the Brazilian says Barcelona's victory must now imbue City with a belief that they can beat United too. "If you want to live a dream then first and foremost you have to believe the dream can happen and believe in your work," said a player whose one-year contract at City is a pleasant and lucrative finale to a career that began with Brazil's Corinthians in 1994 before a move to Arsenal in 1999. "You have to work so hard. If you don't, you won't win. There are players who have come here [to City] with great experience of Champions League football and important matches and I think that will really help the club."

When Sylvinho related the story of the Champions League final to his team-mates, he told them that Barcelona were not surprised by the ease of the victory – in which United, as Rio Ferdinand has described it, did not "not even put up a fight".

"We weren't surprised because we knew we were the best team in the competition," Sylvinho related. "We had the best players, played the best football and were in a great moment. Anything can happen in a final but we were so confident in our game."

The image of a former Brazil international settling back in the Carrington dressing room to relate such tales to his team-mates will delight Hughes. The City manager has expressly set out to buy players who have won the trophies City now covet in the hope that the "winning mentality", which he says City have historically lacked, will rub off. "[Our players] have not just asked questions about the Champions League; they recognise [all that] Barcelona did in the last season, which was amazing," the 35-year-old said. He sees Hughes building a dynasty at City as Sir Alex Ferguson has done across town. "He's a strong character," Sylvinho observed.

The left back, who moved from Highbury to Celta Vigo after the emerging Ashley Cole edged him out, is already close to Robinho, who is expected to miss the derby through injury and who has confided in his compatriot that he has found it more difficult than he expected to adapt, following his own move over from Spain. "He [Robinho] is enjoying his time here. He said it's not easy to adapt to English football and he was a bit surprised by it, but he understands the philosophy of the football here."

Though Emmanuel Adebayor will be missing on Sunday – the Football Association yesterday confirmed his three-match ban for violent conduct – the club are taking comfort from their best to start a top-flight league season since 1961-62, when they also won four on the trot, with Joe Hayes accomplishing on that occasion what Adebayor has done this time: a goal in each of the four matches.

"A few weeks ago City beat Barcelona [1-0] in a friendly," Sylvinho reflected. "The team is very good, it's a strong side with a good mentality. Of course, we still have to improve things but we're an important club in Europe today."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk