Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho has commended his teammates after a last-minute Yaya Toure penalty gave the home side a nerve-shivering late win against Norwich City at the Etihad on Saturday.
The home side had taken the lead in the 67th minute through a Nicolas Otamendi header – his first goal for the club following a summer move from Valencia – but a fumble from the usually reliable Joe Hart allowed Cameron Jerome to equalise for Alex Neil’s Canaries in the 83rd minute.
A last minute penalty following a blatant handball from Norwich skipper Russell Martin, which saw the Scottish international sent off, allowed City’s Ivorian midfielder to step up and win the match for Manuel Pellegrini’s side.
“We got some emotion at the end,” said Fernandinho.
“We are strong and tight. I think this is the third game we have won at the end of the game, which makes the team stronger.
“We fight until the end.”
In spite of his mistake, both Fernandinho and manager Pellegrini were quick to defend Hart.
The Brazilian said: “I’m absolutely sure he [Joe Hart] is one of the best keepers in the world.
“Even if he is one of the best in the world this is going to happen – mistakes like that.”
Pellegrini was similarly forgiving, claiming: “It was unfortunate. Sometimes, these things happen. Joe is human and he can make mistakes.
“Apart from that error, there were only two shots at him in the game and he saved those because he is a very good goalkeeper.”
City’s goal-scorer, Otamendi, who powered his deadlock-shattering header into the back of the Norwich net just as City looked to be running out of time, was also satisfied with the result saying
“I’m really, really happy that we won this game,” he said.
“I’m really pleased I scored my first goal for City. We are a group of players who work really hard and it’s true, we never give up and today we got our reward for that belief.
“I heard about the ‘fight to the end’ spirit we have here before I arrived, but in all honesty, it’s just a pleasure for me to be playing for this club.”
Pellegrini, who called the opening goal ‘beautiful’, now turns his attention to City’s tough away match against Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
But Fernandinho is confident ahead of what will be a substantial test for the Premier League frontrunners.
“It’s time to prove [ourselves in Europe],” said the former Shakhtar Donetsk man.
“This is a great opportunity for us to show our quality and ambition against a tough team.
“If we win there it will be a big step for qualification.”
Image courtesy of Manchester City, via Youtube, with thanks