Many people think that Bernardo Silva has a great football mind that deserves many positions, good at both attack and defense. But really, Bernardo says it’s all down to decades of diligent training and learning.
A versatile superstar
Bernardo was Man City’s standout player in the 3-0 win over Bayern. He scored to make it 2-0 with a header and impressed with his quick feet and sharp turns. But when Bernardo says that City’s job is only half done, it is understood that he has put a lot of heart into his work and has never felt enough.
Pep Guardiola and a number of City players both pride themselves on keeping clean sheets, working together defensively, especially in terms of pressuring, positioning and reading Bayern’s threat. And Bernardo is the key to all of this. Despite his small stature, he still accomplishes a huge amount of work thanks to his intelligence, ability to move nonstop on the right flank, and incredible closeness.
“I believe it doesn’t matter what position you play, in football everyone is attacking and everyone is defending so in different positions you need to defend in different ways,” said Bernardo. “Even if you are a striker, a winger or an attacking midfielder, you need to do your job well to help the team defend.”
“I did a lot of research on that in my career, in my academy at Benfica. My teachers when I was young… they asked a lot of me about defense so I developed myself this way.”
In the summer of 2013, when Bernardo tried to break into Benfica’s first team, coach Jorge Jesus placed him at left-back during pre-season and in friendlies. Jesus didn’t believe in Bernardo, feeling he was too young to be competitive and didn’t know how to use him.
During the 2013/14 season, Jesus only used Bernardo once in the Portuguese league – coming on as a substitute in the 82nd minute of the final game against Porto. He also told Bernardo that he would only see him as a B team player for next season. Bernardo moved to Monaco that summer. And that’s where he started his career.
Bernardo quickly made a name for himself at the French team and then joined Man City for £ 43.5 million. At the Manchester team, Bernardo still shows his versatility. He can play well as a winger, a No 10, a box-to-box role or deeper in midfield and has even recently played at full-back.
Reward for Persistence
In addition to versatility, fighting spirit and focus are also a strong point of Bernardo. The most important thing on his mind is getting the job done against Bayern – following Saturday’s trip to Leicester in the Premier League. Match by game is the mantra of every Man City player regardless of outside talk about the prospect of winning the treble. They will also face Sheffield United in the FA Cup semi-final next Saturday.
Man City have had too many missed steps in the Champions League for them to be careful. Being eliminated in the semi-finals last season by Real Madrid was the deepest mark. They were always the team that took the lead in both matches but in the end still suffered a painful defeat with a total score of 5-6.
“It’s not over for Bayern,” said Bernardo. “We’ve had a lot of experience that what happens in the first game doesn’t matter. Against Real Madrid, everyone said the game was over and then in the last five minutes everything changed.”
“We are one step closer to where we want to be, but we know that one game in this tournament is not enough. If you blink for a second, you’re out.”
If all the Man City players can keep the focus and persistence like Bernardo, the dream of winning the Champions League silver trophy will not be too far away for them.