Makeshift centre-back Fernandinho denied his move from midfield to defence was the reason for Manchester City’s mediocre run of results.
Pep Guardiola’s men have drawn or lost three of their past five Premier League matches and sit 17 points adrift of leaders Liverpool going into Sunday’s away game against Arsenal.
The decision not to replace Vincent Kompany has created headaches, particularly after Aymeric Laporte underwent knee surgery in September.
Fernandinho, 34, was forced to vacate his natural role at the base of midfield to plug the hole in central defence.
But the Brazilian insisted the change had not been a major issue, despite City’s failure to keep a clean sheet in 10 matches across all competitions.
“The job you do at the back is so important as you help to defend and attack,” said Fernandinho, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
“The culture is that whoever scores goals gets the spotlight but it depends on everyone.
“You have to protect your defensive line and, when you have the ball, try to give players in front the ball to attack and create chances.
“I don’t think I am being missed in midfield. Rodri is playing really well there. Of course, we are a little bit different but he’s doing really well.
“In general the team plays well, the detail made the difference [in the loss to Manchester United] last week and of course we have to improve and react as soon as possible, and we have an opportunity on Sunday.”
— Fernandinho (@fernandinho) December 13, 2019
Fernandinho admitted the fallout from the 2-1 derby defeat to United had taken its toll.
“It’s been really tough, really hard for us,” he said.
“If you take the statistics, we were better, in control of the game, but the result counts in the end. We have to go again. It’s our opportunity to show it was an accident against United.
“We conceded two easy goals and it makes the game more difficult for us. We couldn’t find a way to react.
“Arsenal like to play football, we like to play football. It will be a nice game for the fans.”
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