Manchester City midfielder Fernando reminded his teammates that they have to win every remaining game if they still harbour any hopes of a third Premier League title in four years.
City lie six points behind leaders Chelsea, who also have a game in hand, and with both sides crashing out of the Champions League, each team will be entirely focused on the league title race.
“All that matters on Saturday is that we win,” said the 27-year-old. “We can’t drop any more points and we know we’ve said that a lot in the past few weeks but I think we’ve got to the stage where we have to start making up ground on Chelsea.
“Only by winning each week can we create pressure on them. Every time we drop points we are making it easy for them so now, with only the Premier League to think about, we have to go for it and try and win all our remaining matches.
“It won’t be easy bit we can do it if we focus and play to our optimum levels.”
The champions will be without Yaya Toure, James Milner, and Aleksandr Kolarov when they take on a reinvigorated West Brom side, who have risen to 13th under Tony Pulis.
However, City will fondly remember their 3-1 Boxing Day victory over the Baggies, which included a spectacular overhead kick from their Brazilian defensive midfielder.
“I have scored better goals than that!” said Fernando. “I have a specific job in the team so goals are not necessarily what is expected of me, but I hope to chip in with a few more next year.
“We played very well that day but they have changed their coach since that game and they have improved a lot so it won’t be the same as last time.
“I enjoyed that game because I scored my first goal, but I can still give the team a lot more because I don’t think I’ve been anywhere near my best this season.
“I think after one season in the Premier League, you will see the best of me because I will have one year in the Premier League under my belt and I know the pace, physicality and power of football in this county much better.”
Fernando’s manager was also confident that he would be with City next year, and stressed that he was still very happy to be at the club despite the scrutiny he has recently come under.
“Every day I enjoy it,” said the 61-year-old.
“If you cannot enjoy playing Champions League against Barcelona, fighting for title in the Premier League, being with this team, being in best league in world, if you don’t enjoy it, you must need to see a doctor.
“Maybe some years ago, it was not the same. Now it is maybe the same. Now every time during the season that one manager is not winning, the press say sack him.
“This year was maybe sometimes with Liverpool manager, with Arsenal manager, with me, with Manchester United manager.
“It is the same as it is Spain. (Carlo) Ancelotti won four trophies six months ago and everyone is talking that he cannot continue.”
Main image courtesy of Manchester City via YouTube, with thanks.