Federico Fernandez on life in Newcastle on & off the pitch


"For me, I always knew it would be about training well and making myself available to help the team. We've now arrived at the last part of the season so everyone has to be ready and fit. We are looking to approach to our final target so it will be a very interesting part of the season. When asked if he needed a pep talk during his first team exile, Fernandez said: Rafa knows me very well. He didn't need to say anything to me, I am professional and I am working hard. I try to help the team on and off the field. That is the main thing.

"Of course, and we are in a good position. It depends on us really. We can see the team is getting better and better and the confidence is there. We've played in a lot of games during the season but we are better now and we can compete in every single game. We are doing in different ways. We showed that we had the fighting spirit against Bournemouth by scoring in the last minute. The belief is there to still take a point when others might give up. The focus is to get points until we know we are safe. Every single game is massive. Maybe in the last few games we can see if we can finish higher. But the main thing is to focus on being safe.

"For me to represent my country was one of the best moments a player can have in their football career. I enjoyed my time with great players like Messi. It was great for me to play at a World Cup. We were so, so close to winning it against Germany. It was a dream for me though. When I was a kid you dream big. It doesn't get bigger than playing for the national team.

"It is a beautiful place to live! It's colder than Swansea but I just love it. I really enjoy discovering new places with my family. Last weekend I went to the Lake District and when I get a day off we go to one of the beaches here. We go to the places that are close and discover the culture of the North East. We've been to Longsands to build a sand castle and we always explore with the family. You are a footballer for three or four hours a day, but then I am a father and family man afterwards. It's great to spend time with them. You clear your mind and think of something different to football. Then it's back in to focus again."

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