Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho has touted the influence of assistant coach Mikel Arteta amid rumours linking the former Arsenal player with the Gunners manager’s job.
Fernandinho has been one of a number of standout performers for City this season with Pep Guardiola describing him as one of the best three holding midfielders in the world.
While the Brazilian is also full of praise for his manager, he also said Arteta, 36, who joined the backroom staff two years ago after retiring from playing for Arsenal, has had a big impact.
“One of the positive things about Pep is that he is so close with his staff — they support him in every situation, and we as players have huge contact with them,” he told reporters.
“For me, especially Mikel Arteta, because he played in the same position as I play. So sometimes I have private chats with him to correct some positioning, or something that is wrong.
“All the people are behind Pep and it is fantastic. That is why we are a very good team — it’s not just the players and the manager, but also the staff.
“Mikel has helped to improve me a lot this season, with his advice.”
Fernandinho was one of the few City regulars to miss out on being named in the Premier League team of the season but he insists he’s happy for fellow midfielders Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva to take the plaudits.
“It doesn’t bother me,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to play with them because they have so much quality.
“They play good, simple football and made the difference for us this season, making and scoring the goals.
“I just do my job, controlling the counter-attacks and give them some passing. But they deserve all the credit that goes to them.”
Fernandinho will collect his second Premier League winners’ medal on Sunday after the game against Huddersfield Town, after also winning the title with City in 2014 under Manuel Pellegrini.
He turns 33 on Friday but is already focusing on winning a third title and challenging for an elusive Champions League victory.
“I have enjoyed this season a lot,” he added. “First of all, to be champions, because it is not easy to be Premier League champions, and the way we have played.
“I also only got one injury, which was important for me, and to play every weekend and be firm was one of the best things.
“Playing alongside these players is also so special because they have such quality. They show it in every game, and it makes me so happy to be part of this team.
“[The Champions League] is the challenge, and we will go for that, but it’s not easy. To be honest, I don’t remember the last time a team won the Premier League twice in a row, so we are going to do that again, for sure.
“But now we have to enjoy the moment and see what happens in the last three games. Then we have to start the new season strong.”
Jonathan is ESPN FC’s Manchester City correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @jonnysmiffy.