New Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac has heaped praise on midfielder Renato Sanches after his goalscoring performance against former club Benfica on Wednesday night.
With the two sides squaring off at the Estadio da Luz in Portugal for their first Champions League game of the season, Sanches helped Die Roten to a 2-0 win over the Primeira Liga outfit, scoring the second goal in the 54th minute of the match after Robert Lewandowski broke the deadlock in the 10th minute.
The 21-year-old spent an unsuccessful loan spell at Swansea City last season, during which he made just 12 Premier League appearances without scoring a single goal. However, he appears to have grabbed this Bayern chance with both hands in a bid to cement his place in the side, chipping in with a goal on his first appearance of the season.
"I'm happy," Kovac told reporters after the win (via Goal). "Like I said in Munich, Renato wasn't going to be our first option.
"Actually Thiago [Alcantara] should have played, but when we knew he was going to miss the game, I thought it was the right time to let Renato play.
"What he did tonight was special. You could see why he is such a good player in his young age. A player with high technical and physical skills. And then he even scored.'
Kovac also commented on the Benfica crowd who gave an ovation to their former star Sanches at the end of the game.
He continued: "I have to make a compliment to him and the Portuguese supporters, that they gave him applause. You don't see that very often. That speaks for their favour."
Speaking on the match itself, Kovac lamented over wasted chances but highlighted the fact that Bayern had gotten off to a good start in the competition.
"We wanted to have a good start in both the Bundesliga and the Champions League.
"We want to go far in the Champions League. We have to stay focused, we know we're being hunted by everyone."