My first Manchester derby was not normal – Iheanacho
Super Eagles and Manchester City forward, Kelechi Iheanacho, has admitted that his first ever Manchester derby game for Manchester City was not a normal one.
The Nigerian made the starting line-up for the Citizens’ in his first Manchester derby this season at Old Trafford as a replacement for Argentine striker, Sergio Aguero who was suspended for the clash.
Iheanacho went on to grab the winner in the 2-1 win, making him the first Nigerian to score in the Manchester derby and the fourth African to achieve the feat.
The 20-year-old, who has hit the net six times in all competition this season for the struggling Manchester City admitted that it was difficult to stay calm for such a big game.
Iheanacho told The Players’ Tribune, “Because I was only 19, I did not expect to be in the starting XI.
“When the manager told me that I was going to start, I tried to tell myself, ‘it’s just a game of football,’ but if I am telling the truth, it is not a normal game.
“The atmosphere and intensity give you a very different feeling as soon as you step on the pitch.
“It’s war for 90 minutes in the Manchester Derby. You cannot give anything less than 100 percent concentration. So I just tried to focus completely on the match.
“I was so happy, but then in the 36th minute, something really amazing happened. I was standing in front of the United goal when Kevin [De Bruyne’s] shot struck the post.
“The ball came right to my feet. I kicked it into the back of the net without thinking. I looked over to the linesman, not believing that I had really scored. The flag was down. I was onside.
“My teammates ran over to me, and I felt what I can only describe as the ‘Manchester Derby feeling.’ No one can know how I felt unless they’ve scored in the derby. I did not even celebrate. The feeling was too much.”