Newcastle United are ready to put in a “big effort” against Premier League champions Manchester City, according to Federico Fernandez.
Rafa Benitez’s side are yet to win this season.
Newcastle were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Nottingham Forest at the City Ground on Wednesday night.
The defeat followed a Premier League loss to Chelsea last weekend.
Fernandez, signed from Swansea City in the summer, started both games, hopes to keep his place at the Eithad Stadium, where Benitez could again field a five-man defence.
“We know how tough our start of the season is,” said Fernandez.
It was brilliant to finally make my debut at St James’s Park. The stadium has a great atmosphere, and I’m really happy to play my first game there.Federico Fernandez
“Our focus is now on Man City, and they have more or less the same style as Chelsea, if not better.
“We have a few days to work in training, decide on the system we will play, and we will see if it’s the same.
“It’s always positive to have played a system already, and we have done that now. We need we need to stay in the game for as long as we can, to defend, move side to side, run a lot – and then attack when we can.
“The lads all work so hard and will put another big effort in at Man City. Hopefully, we get a positive result there – and a bit more luck.”
Fernandez, signed for his Premier League experience, made his debut against Chelsea, who won 2-1 thanks to a late own goal.
The 29-year-old – who played under Benitez at Napoli – was in the centre of United’s five-man defence.
“It was brilliant to finally make my debut at St James’s Park,” said Fernandez.
“The stadium has a great atmosphere, and I’m really happy to play my first game there.
“I tried to push myself and show a good game, and I’m really happy. I saw during training in the week when we trained in this system, so the gaffer told me I had to play in the middle.
“We were working very hard during the week to improve this system, and we will do going forward, too.”
Asked about the system,Fernandez added: “I have played a lot of games at Swansea last season in a three-man central defence.
“I know the system, how it works and why we need to do it against top sides like Chelsea and Manchester City.
“Teams try to put teams in between the lines, and so we have to make sure we don’t give too much time to them, then we can recover the ball and try to create our own chances.
“We had our gameplan and it was working really well. We didn’t concede too many chances to Chelsea, we tried to restrict the space for their attacking players like (Eden) Hazard and Pedro.
“Then when we got the ball we tried to counter attack them if we could. We created a couple of chances from corners and set pieces, and I think the penalty was unlucky.
“We kept pushing, we scored and made it 1-1, then we conceded an unlucky own goal.
“We worked very hard and I think we deserved a point, but this is football. It was not our day.”
Fernandez, fielded against Chelsea after Jamaal Lascelles was ruled out with an ankle problem, was happy to take responsibility in the position.
“It’s an important position, and I feel good that the gaffer has the confidence in me to play this role,” said the former Argentina international.
“I try to talk to the lads, pull them into the right position, and it’s a role I know well, so I tried to help Fabian (Schar) and (Ciaran) Clark to be tight with the striker, and try to cover them in the last part of the box.”
Meanwhile, former United striker Daryl Murphy opened the scoring for Forest.
Murphy – who helped Newcastle win the Championship – headed Aitor Karanka’s side into a second-minute lead.
“I thought every one of the boys performed really well,” said the 35-year-old, who was sold to Forest last year.
“We started on the front foot, and obviously the early goal helped settle us down.
“We’ve had a few performances this season where we’ve not been at it, but I thought we changed that.
“We went out there and expressed ourselves and showed what a good side we can be when we play our style of football on the front foot.
“We’re training hard every day, and we can see the quality in this squad day in, day out.
“Players do need time to settle into a new squad, but now we seem to be gelling together, and I genuinely believe there are some good times ahead.”