Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho has backed new team-mate Raheem Sterling to overcome the controversy surrounding his move from Liverpool. Sterling was widely criticised for making it clear he wanted to leave Anfield in the months leading to his departure, and the England forward was booed by fans while on international duty in June.

But Fernandinho believes the 20-year-old has the mental strength to cope with the possibility of more unwanted attention ahead of City’s opening game of the Premier League season against West Brom on Monday night, live on Sky Sports 1.

“I think he is a strong character with the right personality,” Fernandinho said. “I remember seeing him in an interview talking about his determination to win trophies and I’m sure he will be able to manage the situation.”

The Brazil international is also confident that arrival of Sterling, along with the addition of midfielder Fabian Delph, will help City challenge for both the Premier and Champions League this season.

“I believe the squad is strong enough to fight for both trophies and I feel very enthusiastic about our chances this season, especially in the Champions League,” he said.

City have so far disappointed in the Champions League, having failed to make it beyond the round of 16 in each of the last four season.

Star striker Sergio Aguero could miss Monday’s game through injury, and the club have also lost strikers Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic to Serie A.

But Fernandinho believes Man City’s focus should be on improving their defense rather than their attack: “Personally, I believe the team can be very successful scoring goals.

“The biggest thing to improve is defensively. The attacking part of the team is very strong, and it’s about improving consistency in defence. Of course that includes myself, as part