Manchester City must not give Wayne Rooney time to think when they host Everton, according to midfielder Fernandinho. Fernandinho is well aware of the threat Rooney poses to any defense.
Ronald Koeman’s side head to the Etihad Stadium on Monday, a venue where they rode their luck in a 1-1 draw the last term, before dishing out a painful 4-0 thrashing to Pep Guardiola’s men at Goodison Park in January.
Koeman has made a number of eye-catching additions to his squad during the transfer window, with Gylifi Sigurdsson completing a club-record move from Swansea City last week.
But it is Rooney’s return to his boyhood club that has captured the imagination, and England and Manchester United’s all-time top scorer stole the headlines with the only goal against Stoke City as the Toffees won on the opening weekend of the Premier League season.
Rooney has 11 goals against City to his name and Fernandinho wants his team-mates to be on their guard.
“He’s a great player, he showed that during the pre-season and the first game as well,” the Brazil international told reporters.
“We will have to be very careful with him. He can score in many different ways.
“We will have to be close to him and not give him any chance to think or to create any chance [on] goal.
“It’s always tough to play against a team like Everton, no matter [whether it is] home or away.
“With a lot of changes they made they are getting better, they improved a lot.”
City won their opening match 2-0 at Brighton and Hove Albion and an outlay of more than £200million in the transfer market has seen them installed as one of the favorites for the title.
They last did so in Fernandinho’s debut season in England in 2013-14 but the 32-year-old insists such expectations are inevitable.
“There’s always pressure here to win something,” he said. “Since I came four years ago, the pressure is there. You always have to win. This year isn’t going to be different.
“We have been together for one month already. There are many players that have been here with Pep Guardiola from last season, we already know the way he likes to play.
“The new players that have joined the squad are learning, and they are intelligent players who get it very quickly. That’s not a problem at all.
That’s not a problem at all.
“Of course, it will take some time to get everybody together. All of them [the new signings] are good. They showed it in their previous teams and we hope all of them can make the difference for us.”