Teenage striker Kelechi Iheanacho struck the winner in Pep Guardiola’s first Manchester derby.
Pep Guardiola revealed he started Kelechi Iheanacho because he wanted to make a statement to his players ahead of his first Manchester derby.
The Nigerian striker was named in place of the suspended Sergio Aguero and justified his manager’s decision with the winning goal at Old Trafford.
Guardiola had been left to weigh up his attacking options after Aguero was handed a three-match ban for an elbow on West Ham defender Winston Reid last month.
And he chose 19-year-old Iheanacho as his centre forward ahead of other contenders Nolito, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling.
After the 2-1 win, he said: “He was the only striker we had in that moment.
“I thought about many other options – but I thought in the beginning to show to my players that I came to win the game.”
But Guardiola withdrew Iheanacho just eight minutes into the second half as Jose Mourinho’s side applied the pressure in search of an equaliser – bringing on defensive midfielder Fernando for the teenager.
The Manchester City manager explained: “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,”