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Pardew knew nothing about Iheanacho prior to late winner

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 13 Sep 2015

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Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew admitted he knew next to nothing about Kelechi Iheanacho before the Manchester City youngster scored a late winner at Selhurst Park.

Palace looked set to end the Premier League leaders’ 100 per cent record before 18-year-old striker Iheanacho pounced from close range to secure a 1-0 win for Manuel Pellegrini’s side on his second senior appearance.

Iheanacho entered the pitch moments earlier as an 89th-minute replacement for Wilfried Bony and Pardew was not immediately concerned about his goalscoring prowess.

Asked at a post-match media conference if he previously knew who Iheanacho was, Pardew said: “No, if I’m honest. I had to look at his shirt and check who he was. 

“Man City have so many players and it’s a problem going forward [for other clubs].

“Not only are they building a very strong first XI but they’re snapping up a lot of young players from around the globe who are going to be coming through in the next three or four years who are going to make it really difficult for us.

“He might be one but I don’t really know too much more about him.”

Pellegrini was happy to fill in the blanks for his opposite number, stating that his faith in Iheanacho’s ability was a factor in him allowing frontline striker Edin Dzeko to join Roma during the close-season.

“He started working with our squad last season but he was very unlucky because he had an important injury for the last three months of the season,” Pellegrini said.

“This year he started doing the pre-season with the squad. He will be a very important player in the future and he is demonstrating why I kept him in a position in the squad and did not bring in another striker when we sold Edin Dzeko.

“I think he deserves an opportunity and he demonstrated why.

“In this case it is important to take the chance of just one, two or three minutes like he did.”

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