By Adeboye Amosu:
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola says he started Nigeria international Kelechi Iheanacho in Saturday’s 2-1 win against local rivals Manchester United to prove to his players that he wanted to win the game, reports Completesportsnigeria.com.
The 19-year-old was handed a starting role in the side due to the absence of Argentine forward Sergio Aguero who is serving a three match ban for elbowing an opponent.
Iheanacho repaid his manager’s faith in him by providing an assist for City’s opening goal scored by Kevin de Bruyne before scoring the winner.
“He was the only striker we had in that moment. I thought about many options – but I thought in the beginning to show my players that I came to win the game,” the Spaniard said in his post-match interview.
The young Nigerian was however substituted in the second half and the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss explained it was done to curtail the threat of Manchester United.
“In the second half we started poorly – they had many crosses. We had the ball, then lost the ball. Had the ball – lost the ball,” Guardiola said.
“In the second half United pushed a lot. The substitutions from my colleague were really good.
“They played long balls and diagonals to win and it was almost impossible.
“Fernando was the key player in the second half for us.”