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Fernandinho eyes European tonic for difficult season

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 11 Apr 2016

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Fernandinho hopes Manchester City can atone for their Premier League struggles this season by pipping Paris Saint-Germain to a place in the Champions League semi-finals.

The Ligue 1 champions take on City at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday with the quarter-final poised at 2-2 – Fernandinho having netted a second away goal in the Parc des Princes to earn a share of the spoils for Manuel Pellegrini’s side last week.

City expected to be fighting for honours at home and abroad at this stage of the season but find themselves fourth in the Premier League, 15 points shy of leaders Leicester City.

“For us players, reaching the semi-finals would mean a lot because we spent all season with a lot of difficulties, many injuries,” he told Omnisport.

“And often we had to play the whole month with the same players, so speaking of the Premier League is a bit complicated.

“This game will mean a lot for us. The will and desire of all who are at Manchester [City] and for us, as players, for our career, it is something that will mean a lot.”

Fernandinho was also on target in February’s League Cup final against Liverpool before City prevailed on penalties, but the Brazil international knows the greater prize of Champions League glory is a target for the club’s ambitious Abu Dhabi owners after reaching the last eight of the competition for the first time.

“It’s a super important game for us,” said the 30-year-old. “Since the club was bought by the Abu Dhabi Group, I think one of the great intentions was to do well in the Champions League – trying to get to the final and trying to win the title.

“After a long time we are having this chance now.”

Favourites Barcelona and Bayern Munich hold slender first-leg advantages from respective home matches versus Atletico Madrid and Benfica, while Real Madrid are nursing a 2-0 deficit at the halfway stage against Wolfsburg in the other quarter-final.

“Barcelona and Bayern won at home but must now decide things away and it will be a little complicated for them,” Fernandinho added.

“Benfica and Atletico Madrid are difficult opponents, so I believe that anything can happen in these games.

“Regarding the match of Real Madrid and Wolfsburg, I think this surprised a lot of people. Everyone was expecting an easy victory for Real Madrid.

“But this game describes what current football is like. When you get on the pitch, you have to stay focused and sacrifice yourself, because otherwise you end up with surprising negative results like this.”

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