The manager of Manchester City, Pep Guardiola has stressed that his club’s right-winger, Riyad Mahrez is a little bit too weak after Manchester City’s 0-4 win over Norwich City.
Recall that the Spanish coach started Mahrez in the Premier League game but had to substitute him for Premier League debutant Kayky in the 83rd minute.
When the 30-year-old Algerian winger got to the touchline, coach Guardiola gave him a friendly push and they exchanged some words which ignited speculation that all was not well between them. But the coach had clarified that it was just a chat about the player being a forward that likes to score goals.
Before Mahrez was taken off, Manchester City had already scored three goals, two from Raheem Sterling and one from Phil Foden. Seven minutes after he was substituted, Sterling made it a 4-0 away victory.
Though Manchester City won the game, Pep Guardiola expected Riyad Mahrez to have done more for the Premier League reigning champions.
Recall that the last time Mahrez scored a goal for Manchester City was on February 9, 2022, via a penalty kick. Even has that, the Algerian remains the highest goalscorer in Guardiola’s squad this season.
Nobody at Manchester City has scored as much as 16 goals and provided 6 assists in all competitions in the 2021-2022 season except Mahrez. But Guardiola said after the 4-0 win over Norwich that he is expecting more from the winger.
“He is an exceptional player but I want more,” Guardiola told Sky Sports on Saturday.
“He’s clever, he’s a goalscorer. But sometimes I want more. Sometimes he’s a little bit weak in the duels. We’ve known each other a long time and he knows the intentions we say to him are positive.”
"He can still do better this season"— The Sun Football ⚽ (@TheSunFootball) February 12, 2022
Despite being Man City's top scorer this season, Pep Guardiola says Riyad Mahrez was BETTER last season pic.twitter.com/0fI4XXbgNz
Ahead of Manchester City’s 4-0 win over Norwich City, coach Pep Guardiola took out time to sing the praises of Riyad Mahrez.
However, during the pre-match press conference, the coach stressed that Mahrez had a better 2020-2021 season than the ongoing season even though the Algerian is currently the club’s highest goalscorer.
Recall that during the 2020-2021 season in which Manchester City won the Premier League and got to the final of the Champions League, Mahrez managed to score 14 goals and provide 9 assists in 48 games.
Based on these statistics, the Algerian is already doing better this season than he did last season. But coach Pep Guardiola does not think so.
“No, last season was the best moment I have found for Riyad”, the 51-year-old Spanish tactician insisted.
“He can still be better this season to be at the same level of the last five or six months last season when he was outstanding. The quality of his finishing [is key this season]. The personality of the penalties and when he is close in the box, he has ability and technique.
“He is not strong – see his legs – but he has technique and quality.”
After Mahrez scored two goals including a penalty to help Manchester City beat Fulham 4-1 in the FA Cup fourth round on February 5, 2022, Guardiola described the Aigerian winger as a player with a “special quality”.
“As a player, he has a special quality,” the coach said. “In the last year we struggled with penalties and now he is a guarantee.
“He scores every penalty he takes and especially under pressure. You take a penalty at 4-0 and it is easy but last season in Dortmund he scored when we were 1-0 down and this season 1-0 down against Arsenal he scored.
“He has the personality to take the ball and do it.”
Riyad Mahrez’s contract with Manchester City will expire on June 30, 2023. His current transfer market value is €40 million.