Fernandinho has labelled his recent outings in both full-back positions with Manchester City as “interesting”.
Eyebrows were raised when the Brazil midfielder lined up at left-back for Monday’s match at Bournemouth but he turned in a largely accomplished display and helped City to only their sixth Premier League clean sheet of the season in a 2-0 win.
Naturally right-footed, the 31-year-old’s deployment at right-back for the previous 2-1 victory at home to Swansea City caused less consternation than him lining up on the outside of career left-back Aleksandar Kolarov at the Vitality Stadium.
Calling on seasoned professionals such as Fernandinho and Kolarov to take on new positions is a feature of Pep Guardiola’s work at Bayern Munich that he has brought to the Etihad Stadium and the former Shakhtar Donetsk man is relishing the challenge.
“I think left-back is the fourth different role I’ve had this season,” Fernandinho told the club’s official website.
“It’s a different experience, but very good and interesting. I liked it a lot. The most important thing is to be available to help the team the best way possible.
“Since Pep arrived here he was clear about the fact that he likes to use players in different positions and he made some tests and in the last game when I ended up playing on the right-hand side.
“Against Bournemouth I played on the left. It’s one of his ideas of the game. We tried to implement it and I think this is a very important aspect and quality to have.
“To be able to adjust in different positions and try to keep a good rhythm during the match and help the team to win is good for the whole team and as individuals because we broaden our own experience. If there’s a situation where we have to slot in somewhere else, we may already know that role well.”
Against both Swansea and Bournemouth, second-half substitutions saw Fernandinho revert to the screening midfield role he carried out with aplomb earlier in the season before red cards against Chelsea and Burnley meant a total of seven games on the sidelines.
The previously exiled Yaya Toure took on the anchor position in his absence and City are unbeaten in four league matches – eight points shy of leaders Chelsea in second, with Fernandinho still hopeful of hauling in the runaway leaders.
“Everyone knows how hard the Premier League is, so eight points are not that relevant,” said the 2013-14 title-winner.
“We still have to face them at their own stadium which is one of those six-pointer type of games, and of course everything is possible in the Premier League.
“Unfortunately, our next game in the Premier League is not until the start of March, which seems a long time.
“But I think it was important to win against Bournemouth and jump into the second position.”