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PREMIER LEAGUE

Fernandinho set to keep defensive role for Burnley trip

Fernandinho is set to continue in Manchester City's back four after Pep Guardiola announced that he prefers him in that position over Otamendi and Stones.

Guardiola to continue with Fernandinho in heart of Manchester City's defence

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola says he is not thinking of switching midfielder Fernandinho from his new role in central defence, despite John Stones and Nicolás Otamendi both being fit and available for selection. City were plunged into a defensive crisis when first choice centre-back Aymeric Laporte was ruled out for six months after damaging the lateral meniscus in his right knee in September.

Otamendi dropped after Norwich nightmare

Stones and Otamendi endured a nightmare in the first game following Laporte's injury against Norwich City, with the latter particularly at fault in a damaging 3-2 defeat. Guardiola has selected Brazil international Fernandinho as one of his two central defenders for every Premier League game since then and insists he has no intention of stopping.

Asked why he has not played Stones and Otamendi together, Guardiola told reporters at his media conference ahead of City's visit to Burnley on Tuesday: "Because I like Fernandinho in that position. I prefer him in that position; that's why he plays."

Pressed on why he continues to choose a midfielder in defence, Guardiola responded: "I prefer [Ilkay] Gundogan and Rodri in midfield."

Kun Aguero to miss the Manchester derby

Guardiola also reiterated that Sergio Agüero will miss Saturday's derby against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium. The Argentina international sustained a thigh injury in the 2-1 win over Chelsea on 23 November, with Guardiola saying: "He is not ready for the derby but after the derby we will see."

Burnley dangermen worry Guardiola

City's 2-2 draw with Newcastle United on Saturday means they are now a staggering 11 points behind runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool. Guardiola acknowledges his side will have to be at their best to avoid dropping more points against Sean Dyche's side. "It is always difficult for every team [to play against Burnley]," he added. "What they do they do perfectly. They play quick with Barnes and Wood and attack quick. The two strikers are so good in the second balls and are free-kick scorers so we have to try to adapt to that style of play and do things our way.