Successfully converted from right-back to defensive midfielder by Leonardo Jardim, Fabinho’s presence (and penalty-kick prowess – he has scored his last 17) has added even more sparkle to Monaco’s fine season. The 23-year-old Brazilian international spoke to UEFA.com ahead of Tuesday’s quarter-final opener against Dortmund.
On facing Dortmund
“The style we play is not going to change,” said Monaco’s penalty-kick maestro Fabinho as he prepares for all-out attacking at both ends in the quarter-final against Dortmund.
When we saw we were going to play Dortmund, we knew they were going to be very difficult opponents, like Manchester City in their attacking play, and with the talented young players they have. In those respects, they are similar to us.
They have an excellent team, with a bit more European experience than us, but we’re going to try to stand up to them. The style we play is not going to change; it has got us this far, so we’ll try to play the same against Dortmund.
On Radamel Falcao
We knew Falcao would be important for us. You could see that in pre-season; and in the first match, against Fenerbahçe in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, he was important and scored our goal [in a 2-1 loss in Turkey].
He has become a leader on the pitch. Off the pitch he has also been important. He’s our captain, and when you need to say something serious, he lets you speak. For all those reasons, Falcao has been great for us.
On Leonardo Jardim
As soon as he arrived, he asked if I had ever played in midfield. He saw elements of a midfielder in me. In the first two seasons, he put me in midfield occasionally, but I was still playing more as a full-back. This season he’s put me in midfield consistently. I think I can improve: in the air, my left foot, the final pass. I’m learning, but as a right-back I made it to the national team, and I think I can do well in both positions.
Jardim really gets his ideas across to the team. He convinces the players. The players take his ideas on board. That’s clear from the success we’re having. Our strength is the intensity of our play and our speed on the break. That’s why the attack has been scoring so much.
On his penalty technique
I try to practice on match days. I don’t like to take too many, because our goalkeepers know how to save them. But the secret is concentration in the moment and confidence. I always try to hit it hard so that even if the keeper gets to it, the ball still goes in.