Fernandinho gave Man City stars a New Year's Day rollicking in crisis meeting after Pep Guardiola moaned about attitudes

FERNANDINHO gave Manchester City stars a New Year's Day rollicking in a crisis meeting to spearhead the club's title charge.

Manager Pep Guardiola had moaned to the Brazilian about attitudes within the camp after a poor training session on December 31.

So the club captain stepped up as the leader of the group to get things sorted – before the team embarked on a staggering winning run towards the Premier League title.

Speaking to The Players' Tribune, Fernandinho said: "I’m usually not a guy who makes big speeches, but a few months ago I really had no choice.

"It was December 31, New Year’s Eve. We were eighth in the Premier League table. And we had just finished training. And Pep wasn’t happy.

"It was not a good session. The attitude, the body language, the effort from some players, it was just obvious: misplaced passes, players not tracking back, not running, not looking interested.

"This was not us. This was not the team that had won two titles in a row, or that had set a record points total.

"Pep told me that not everyone was at 100 per cent. And, in this team, when you come to train, you do it at 100 per cent, or you stay home. Once you enter the pitch, there is no conversation, no negotiation.

"He was right. And he made it clear that the responsibility for keeping those standards rested with me."

Fernandinho, who inherited the armband from David Silva last summer, struggled to fully enjoy the New Year celebrations because of the conversation lingering and knew he needed to do something as soon as possible.


At 7am on January 1, he sent messages around to call a meeting and set the record straight.

He continued: "It was an emergency. Once we got everyone together, I spoke openly to them. I spoke as captain.

"I told them what Pep had told me, that some things are inexcusable. I told them that what you do in training reflects back at you later on in the game.

"It was very frank, very honest. After me, all the others spoke their minds too. Everyone already knew we needed to change, but we needed to hear it said. We needed to be shaken. And it was important that we talked."

With the season still just before the half-way point, Fernandinho knew an immediate reaction could ensure it proved a successful campaign.

City beat Chelsea in their next game – a statement performance in which they were 3-0 up within 34 minutes.

It proved to be the fourth win in a stretch of 21 consecutive victories.

One day I reflect on everything I have achieved… But I won’t do it now. Not yet. There is still too much left to do.

Until defeat to the same opponents at Wembley last week, City were on course for an unprecedented quadruple.

The Premier League should be wrapped up, while Guardiola's men face Tottenham in the Carabao Cup final and Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League semis.

Fernandinho – out of contract this summer – continued: "Before the Chelsea match, I thought to myself, 'If these guys don’t run here, that’s it, I’m done!' I was ready to lose all morale.

"But, of course, we won. We won well. We ran almost too much!

"Thank God, since then we’ve been on an amazing, record-breaking run. We got back into the hurricane."

Fernandinho also revealed details of moving from Brazil to Ukraine to join Shakhtar Donetsk aged 20 – and hiding his cash bonuses in towels in the pressure cooker of his hotel room.

The defensive midfielder, 35, took a while to adjust to the climate, especially winters where the temperatures dropped to -27C, but used his resilient mental strength to ensure he succeeded, earning a £30million transfer to the Etihad in 2013.

He will be looking to add his tenth major trophy with City to the collection at Wembley tomorrow in appearance No345 – but is desperate to lift two more pieces of silverware before the end of the season.

Fernandinho concluded: "One day though, I will sit down with my kids — or grandkids — and reflect on everything I have achieved on this continent.

"On that day, I will serve up some shrimp, pour myself some coconut water, lean back in my favourite chair and tell them all about it.

"The winters in Ukraine. The pressure cooker. That training session. The titles.

"Man, it will be such a sweet moment. But I won’t do it now. Not yet. There is still too much left to do."

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