Champions League: Man City boss Pep Guardiola had no doubts about Fernandinho
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola said he never doubted Fernandinho would be comfortable playing in a back four after the Brazilian's solid display in the 3-0 win at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Injuries to John Stones and Aymeric Laporte have left City with Nicolas Otamendi as their one fit centre-back.
But midfielder Fernandinho has been training as a defender this season and looked natural there in Ukraine.
"That's why he is so important for us," said Guardiola.
"We don't have many choices. I think he is the only one I have [at centre-back]. Other players can play in that position but Fernandinho is a clever player and so intelligent - an incredible guy.
"He did well the first game he played [this season]. Of course he has a lot of experience and personality, and what he says the people follow him in the locker room so it's important."
"I didn't have doubts that he would [look so comfortable in the back four]."
It was a relatively quiet night for City's defence as part of an authoritative display in the Champions League Group C opener.
City scored twice in the first half - with Riyad Mahrez and Ilkay Gundogan both on target - before Gabriel Jesus sealed the win after the break with his fourth strike in two games against Shakhtar.
Having played Shakhtar in the group stage of each of the past three Champions League competitions, City now have a record of four wins and one defeat.
Two interceptions, two solid headers won and a passing accuracy of 90% made for a quietly efficient night for Fernandinho.
"Pep knows everything about our squad and team and when he needs [us], every player should be ready," he told BT Sport. "Today was my time and opportunity and I hope I can get better and improve a little bit more."
"It was a quiet night [for the defence]. I think the team made a very good game starting with the guys up front, who closed the spaces.
"At the back it was a bit easier for us. But for sure we played today as a team and we deserved the result - we were better and we created a lot of chances and conceded few chances to them."
Guardiola was pleased with the display and a result that was the perfect riposte to their shock 3-2 Premier League loss at Norwich on Saturday and sets them up to push for qualification to the last 16.
"We saw the results yesterday and today, we know how difficult the Champions League is. We defended really well and we created chances," said the Spaniard.
"To start with three points away is so important, it is in our hands to reach the last 16.
"When you win the manager makes the right decisions, when you lose the wrong decisions. We lost one game in eight months and we will not doubt who these players are. It is a joy to be their manager."