Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola revealed his decision to start Kelechi Iheanacho in the derby came down to sending a message to his players about his intentions at Old Trafford.
The teenage Nigeria international rewarded his boss with a goal and an assist in City’s 2-1 win over Manchester United on Saturday.
With Sergio Aguero suspended, Guardiola said he had other options – but opted for Iheanacho to show his players what he wanted.
“He was the only striker we had in that moment,” the Spaniard said, via the Manchester Evening News. “I thought about many other options – but I thought in the beginning to show to my players that I came to win the game.”
Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring before Iheanacho doubled the lead, only for Zlatan Ibrahimovic to net before the break.
Guardiola was satisfied with his side’s display against Jose Mourinho’s United, as City made it four wins from as many Premier League games.
“I’ve received many goals from Mourinho’s teams on the counter-attack because his teams are really good in that part of the game,” he said. “But in the first half we controlled it, we conceded maybe one or two counter-attacks, no more.
“It’s really good, we defended the set-pieces [well] because they are stronger and taller than us and we defended really good.”
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