Pep Guardiola revealed he started Nigeria super teen Kelechi Iheanacho against Manchester United in the Manchester Derby because he wanted to make a statement to his players.
The Nigerian was handed a shock start upfront ahead of other contenders in the absence of top striker Sergio Aguero and he repaid the manager’s faith by scoring the winner for Manchester City.
” He was the only striker we had in that moment. I thought about many other options- but I thought in the beginning to show my players that I came to win the game” He said after the 2-1 win.
On why he withdrew the 19 year old just eight minutes into the second half. The Spaniard explained that the need for defensive re-enforcement in the wake of countless attacks from Manchester United made him introduce Fernando in place of the match winner.
“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.
“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,”