Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini says that he had purposely let the likes of Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic go, because he saw a rising star in his side, in the form of Kelechi Iheanacho.
Pellegrini had decided to rest top marksman Sergio Aguero in the FA Cup tie against Aston Villa, and started with Iheanacho up front. The 19-year-old striker did not disappoint however, as he put three goals past the hapless Villans, to record his first hat-trick for the senior side.
“Kelechi is a very good young player,” Pellegrini was quoted saying by Goal.com. “We let Jovetic and Dzeko go because I see Kelechi every day and know what he can do. I am very happy.”
Has City Pellegrini found a new solution to defensive woes?
The Citizens have been struggling with their defensive pairing of Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala this season, and the absence of Vincent Kompany seems to have left a big hole in the heart of their defence.
With Mangala ruled out due to a hamstring injury, and Martin Demichelis still recovering from a midweek League Cup fixture against Everton, Pellegrini decided to go with fullback Bacary Sagna at centreback, along with Nicolas Otamendi.
“We made some important changes because it is important to rotate with so many matches to play. Bacary Sagna played well at centre-back, he didn’t make any mistakes and [Willy] Caballero was solid in goal,” said Pellegrini.
The defence looked more or less untroubled for the majority of the match, and it would be interesting to see whether Sagna now evolves into a centreback, at the age of 32. However, this was a match against a struggling Aston Villa side, and better teams may be able to put the Manchester City defence under more pressure in the future.