Roy Hodgson reveals Christian Benteke withdrawal against Manchester City was to offer a chance to Jean-Philippe Mateta

Roy Hodgson wanted to hand Jean-Philippe Mateta an opportunity to prove his worth against Manchester City, hence why striker Christian Benteke was withdrawn after 68 minutes of Saturday’s game.

Benteke missed an excellent first-half chance when a loose ball fell his way in the penalty area. Goalkeeper Ederson made an excellent save from the Belgian’s prodded close-range effort.

Fellow striker Mateta has been starved of minutes since his 18-month loan move from Mainz in January.

The Frenchman has made just six appearances out of a possible 14. Only two of those were starts, including the 2-1 win at rivals Brighton in which he scored the opening goal.

But Mateta replaced Benteke with City leading 2-0, though the 23-year-old failed to make an impact.

“I thought he (Benteke) was good. Had they not scored those two goals in quick succession, there would have been no reason to take him off and to give someone else a go,” Hodgson said.

“The only reason we took him off is not because we weren’t happy with his performance, quite the reverse, but it was a question of [being] 2-0 down, we didn’t show signs of coming back to score two goals to get back into the game.

“It was a question of giving Mateta a chance to show what he could do, if you like, for 20-odd minutes.

“But it was nothing to do with Christian’s performance, which we actually thought was quite good.”

 


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