Manuel Pellegrini has praised Kelechi Iheanacho’s hat-trick performance at Villa Park today and explained why he insisted the young Nigerian took City’s early penalty.
City were already 1-0 up through Iheanacho’s first of the day when Raheem Sterling was felled by Aston Villa right back Leandro Bacuna in the 23rd minute.
Sterling dusted himself down and took the ball before Bacary Sagna gave the instruction that Iheanacho was to step up to send the Blues on their way to the 4-0 victory.
Pellegrini explained the decision, stating: “I told Bacary to tell Kelechi to shoot the penalty because he was in charge of them today. It’s unbelievable the way he takes penalties and I’ve seen him do it every day. That’s why he was the right option.
“He’s a very good young player. That’s why we kept him in the squad this season and that’s why we didn’t replace Jovetic and Edin Dzeko because I see him working every day and I know how important he can be."
The Chilean didn’t limit his praise just to Man of the Match Iheanacho as he moved on to praise the team’s performance as a whole.
“I’m very happy with the performance of the team because we made some important changes. We’re playing so many important games that I think we needed to rotate the squad,” he said.
“Secondly we were a very solid and consistent team. It’s very important to have different ways to play. We can’t press high every game because we have so many games it’s impossible.
“We did very well in midfield with Delph, Fernandinho and Fernando. I think Sagna did very well as a centre back and we didn’t make any mistakes so I’m very happy with all the players but especially with the whole team because we kept a clean sheet and scored four goals."