Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has revealed he replaced Sergio Aguero in Wednesday’s 3-2 away win at West Bromwich Albion to keep his top scorer fresh for Saturday’s trip to Southampton.
The City top scorer struck for the 17th time this season before manager Pellegrini replaced him in the 69th minute, when his side were 2-0 ahead.
Aguero was starting for the fourth time in 10 days and Pellegrini allayed fears the former Atletico Madrid forward had picked up an injury.
He said in his news conference after the match: “I changed him because we have to play another game, in less than 72 hours, against another strong team in Southampton. But Sergio is playing very, very well and he will continue scoring.”
City, who have been in excellent form at home, won on their travels for just the second time in the Premier League this season.
And Pellegrini added: “For us it was important to win away, and we'll try to do it again on Saturday. We were not trying to send a message, we were trying to add points which is more important.”
The Chilean warned his side against getting complacent after Albion scored two late goals to make the scoreline closer than he thought it should have been.
A Yaya Toure brace gave City a 3-0 lead before a Costel Pantilimon own goal and Victor Anichebe’s injury-time strike reduced the margin between the teams to one goal.
And Pellegrini said: “Maybe we were thinking of the next game before we finished this one, and in football the game is not over until the final whistle.
"So they scored two late goals, which is why it finished 3-2, but we certainly had more advantage over the whole game. The game was more easy than we thought which is why we relaxed in the final few minutes.”