Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini was full of praise for Kelechi Iheanacho after he scored twice in the 4-0 win over Stoke.
The youngster came into the side as Pellegrini rotated his squad with Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid in mind.
It proved to be a comfortable afternoon for City, with Stoke putting up little resistance as their own season fizzles out alarmingly, but a second half brace from the Nigerian certainly caught they eye.
“Kelechi Iheanacho is an important young player with a lot of future,” Pellegrini said after the game. “He scores lots of goals but he is not just a penalty box player. I am sure that his role in this team will be very important.”
City are no longer involved in the title race but the victory puts them above Arsenal in the hunt for the third and final automatic Champions League place for next season, and Pellegrini is happy to see his side not distracted by their upcoming Champions League clash.
“A big team must always be focused on both competitions,” he added. “Premier League and Champions League. Every big team must do it every year.
“Stoke is fighting for nothing but nobody wants to lose games. It was important to score the first goal.
One man who is likely to be available for City against real Madrid is captain Vincent Kompany, with Pellegrini hinting that he was rested against Stoke to ensure his availability: “[He] is not able to play Saturday and Tuesday at this moment. We did not want to take the risk.”