Kelechi Iheanacho has revealed that Sergio Aguero told him to relish the added weight of responsibility and grab the chance to carry Manchester City in his absence.
City’s top scorer will miss four Premier League matches – starting at Leicester City on Saturday – after a horror tackle on David Luiz during defeat by Chelsea.
Pep Guardiola may look to rotate his central striker while Aguero remains on the sidelines until December 31 but Iheanacho is primed to fill the void if required.
The Nigerian netted City’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw with Celtic on Tuesday and said Aguero took him to one side to offer some words of wisdom.
‘Before we played Celtic [he said] that it’s up to me now to fill that gap, to carry the team along,‘he’s telling me I should do very well and they are words of encouragement from him. So I’m going to do it.
‘It’s a big opportunity for me now. Sergio’s not around so I have to take responsibility. I need to work really hard to prove myself to the team.
‘I need to do extra to help the team to carry them along and to get the points that we need now.’
City have won just three of their last eight Premier League games and now find themselves four points adrift of Chelsea.
Dailymail revealed that Iheanacho is likely to be handed a first league start since the middle of October this weekend and admitted the application demanded of City’s stars has increased drastically under Guardiola.
‘Pep is a great manager, everyone knows that. In training he needs you at 100 per cent, to get focused and do the right things,’ the 20-year-old added.
‘You need to follow the instructions and play as instructed with the intensity.
‘You need to do more. You need to press high, help your team-mates back and covering. And of course score goals.
‘We have lots of quality players so you need to keep up. Everyone is doing great and bringing their best. You need to be on the same level, be at your best and help win the things that we need.’