Belfast Telegraph

Fernando hopes to build momentum

Midfielder Fernando hopes Manchester City will remind everyone of their true abilities in the remaining weeks of the season.

City's campaign is destined to end in under-achievement following the collapse of their Barclays Premier League title defence.

In recent months they have slipped from challenging for top spot in January to lagging behind leaders Chelsea in a distant fourth place.

Their form has even raised the prospect of a battle to hold onto a Champions League spot but Sunday's comfortable 2-0 victory over West Ham has at least eased some of the pressure in that regard.

Coming after heavy criticism of the team and manager Manuel Pellegrini - and reports of a possible summer clear-out - Fernando now hopes that win can at least provide the springboard for a late season rally.

The Brazilian said: "We went through really tough moments but now we are back to winning. It was really important to get a victory and now we want to keep form and make sure we try to win the next five matches.

"We know the season has not gone as well as we would have liked but now it is important for us to focus on the last five matches and make sure we get good results from them."

City went into the game without momentum after a wretched run of six defeats in eight games in all competitions, culminating in a demoralising 4-2 derby defeat at rivals Manchester United.

They and under-fire Pellegrini badly needed a result and they got just what they needed as they ran into a West Ham side struggling to break out of their own indifferent spell.

They went ahead through a comical own goal from the luckless James Collins. The Welsh defender somehow contrived to lob his own goalkeeper, Adrian, attempting to intercept a Jesus Navas cross, with the ball dropping in via the woodwork.

Sergio Aguero doubled the advantage before the break as he exchanged passes with Navas to round off a swift counter-attack after Yaya Toure had cut out a loose Stewart Downing pass.

City did not look like surrendering their superiority after that although Enner Valencia and Kevin Nolan had late chances after City had been disrupted by injury to playmaker David Silva.

Silva required eight minutes of treatment after being caught by an elbow from Cheikhou Kouyate and was taken to hospital but the Spaniard did not suffer any fractures and City are optimistic the problem is not serious.

Relief was the overriding emotion for City at the final whistle following their recent problems and Fernando, who has struggled to impress this term, was happy with his display.

The 27-year-old, a £12million signing from Porto last summer, said: "The team had a good performance and good ball possession as well. In terms of my own performance I was happy as well, but we know that we can always improve our performance. I am just happy the team managed to get a victory."


From Belfast Telegraph