Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho has warned his Manchester City side to beware a Celtic backlash ahead of their Champions League clash in Glasgow tomorrow night.
City head north on the back of 10 straight wins under Pep Guardiola and are rated strong favourites to heap more continental woe on Brendan Rodgers’ men after their 7-0 mauling by Barcelona earlier this month.
But according to Fernandinho, City — who by contrast started their campaign with a 4-0 breeze against Borussia Monchengladbach — must tread carefully to avoid embarrassment of their own.
He said: “Of course they (Celtic) had a painful defeat for themselves and their fans, but maybe that’s one of the reasons they will step on the pitch with a lot more concentration, motivated to win this game.
“So we will have to be very careful and stay very focused to not allow that to happen.”
City and Barcelona have inevitably been installed as strong favourites to progress from Group C but Fernandinho believes the outcome of the is far from certain.
He added: “I think sometimes people say that City and Barcelona are the favourites, but I don’t agree because Borussia are an excellent team and Celtic are an excellent team as well, especially when they play at home.
“The Champions League is always special, you always have to be careful, you always have to think that you cannot make mistakes — there’s no relaxing, otherwise you’ll pay for it.
“That’s our intention this year, to play 100% concentrated, the way we have been playing, and try to win these games which are really important to us.”
The Brazilian has flourished more than most under Guardiola’s early guidance, transforming into a pivotal member of the City midfield during their perfect start to the new campaign.
And his presence will remain even more of a boost for Guardiola in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne, who limped out of Saturday’s 3-1 win at Swansea with a hamstring injury.
City are yet to release precise details of De Bruyne’s condition but he is reportedly set to spend up to four weeks on the sidelines.
Meanwhile, Gordon has been doing extra homework on Brendan Rodgers’ demands on his goalkeepers in a bid to regain the Celtic number-one spot.
Gordon lost his place to Dorus de Vries, who worked with Rodgers at Swansea, for big games against Aberdeen, Rangers, Barcelona and then Inverness.
But the goalkeeping spot still seems up for grabs after the Dutchman conceded 11 goals in those four matches before being beaten by Souleymane Coulibaly from more than 40 yards during Celtic’s 6-1 win over Kilmarnock on Saturday.
De Vries went off at half-time with a chest injury and Gordon got 45 minutes to show Rodgers what he has learned on his lay-off.
And the Scotland international will continue to work hard to impress his manager, who will await news from his medical team before selecting his goalkeeper to face City.
Gordon said: “We’ll see over the next few days. It was a chest injury he picked up so the physios will be looking at that.
“It would be good to get a run in the team but there’s a lot of competition. It’s a good challenge and one I’m definitely up for. I have been training very hard over the last few weeks to try to make sure I’m in the manager’s plans and try and get a run in the team, and I’ll continue to do that.
“I’m trying to improve my game so when I go back in the team that I can maybe adapt more to what he’s looking for.”
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