Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola heaped praise on midfielder Fernandinho ahead of their crucial 2016/17 Premier League clash against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
The defensive midfielder has been on top of his game for the Citizens featuring in all their league games and two Champions Leagues outings. Apart from scoring two goals in all competitions, he has been used in an array of positions by his manager, who won 10 consecutive games with City before losing points against Celtic on 28 September.
With City missing in-form Kevin de Bruyne, who is expected to be out for three weeks, Fernandinho will prove to be a key figure along with Ilkay Gundogan and David Silva in the midfield. Guardiola believes the Brazilian is among the most versatile players in his unit and has contributed a lot to their success.
"That is because Fernandinho can do everything. What we have achieved so far would have been impossible without him," Guardiola was quoted as saying by The Guardian.
"He is fast, he is intelligent, strong in the air and he can play in several positions. If a team had three Fernandinhos, they would be champions. We only have one and he is very important to us."
The table-toppers will face a huge test against the Mauricio Pochettino's side on Sunday especially after being stunned by Celtic in a 3-3 draw. City were on the back foot right from the start of the game at the Celtic Park as Brendan Rodgers' side gave the visitors a toast of their own medicine by playing a high-pressing game.
Also, the Spurs have enough firepower in the front in the likes of Dele Alli, Erik Lamela and Son-Heung Min, who is fresh from his match-winning performance in the Champions League encounter against CSKA Moscow, to trouble the visitors and cause damage to their perfect league record in this season.
Guardiola maintains that his side is wary of the pressure of playing against big teams in the league. He also credits his players for the way they have started the campaign in what the Spaniard thinks is one of the toughest leagues in the world.
"The big teams are more difficult to play against because they have better players. I have told the players all along that it does not matter if we play Tottenham or a Conference team, the points are the same," the 45-year-old added.
"Before I came here I was told the Premier League was the toughest in the world, everyone can beat anyone. Now I accept it. I want to give credit to my players for the way they have worked.
"We need to carry on improving because the whole idea is to be a better team three years down the line than we are now."