Sunday 23 October 2016

Fernandinho hails City’s reinforced mentality

Manchester City's Joe Hart
Manchester City's Joe Hart

Fernandinho hailed Manchester City's winning mentality after the Premier League leaders recovered from a Joe Hart blunder to snatch a late victory over Norwich.

City had appeared to be easing to a routine 1-0 win at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday when Hart dropped a cross and Cameron Jerome pounced to equalise seven minutes from time.

The hosts, who had previously struggled to break down the Canaries, rallied and grabbed victory with an 89th-minute Yaya Toure penalty after Russell Martin was sent off for handball.

Hart will undoubtedly have been relieved and the England number one responded with a fine save to deny Martin Olsson a second Norwich equaliser in injury time.

City's performance may not have been their most convincing, but it preserved their status as league leaders - albeit only on goal difference - and midfielder Fernandinho felt it showed much about the squad's character.

The Brazilian said: "It was emotional at the end. I think you can see, in a good way, we are strong in mentality. I think it is the third game we have won at the end of the game. It makes the team more stronger.

"I hope for the next games this doesn't happen again but the most important thing was, in the three games, we finished with the win."

City failed to mount a strong title challenge last season, finishing a disappointing second to Chelsea, but Fernandinho believes the team are now stronger for that experience.

The 30-year-old said: "Joe is one of the best keepers in the world but even to one of the best these things can happen, mistakes like that. But the mentality from the team is strong.

"We tried to the end to score the second goal. This is something we learned from last season. We fight to the end.

"Fortunately Yaya scored in the end and after that Joe made a very good save, showing he is one of the best goalkeepers."

City dominated possession throughout but had to work for their chances. Wilfried Bony tested John Ruddy early on and then twice shot wide, before Toure also made the keeper save.

Nicolas Otamendi finally broke the deadlock with a firm header from a corner after 67 minutes but Hart's late gaffe precipitated a chaotic finish. Even after Toure had scored the spot-kick and Hart saved from Olsson there was time for more drama as Sterling was tripped in the box, but Aleksandar Kolarov missed the resulting penalty.

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