African All Stars

Mahrez is not strong but his quality shines through at Manchester City – Guardiola

10:37 AM GMT 12/02/2022
Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City and Algeria.
The Spanish coach reveals how the team needs the services of the Algerian star as they chase another title

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has revealed why the team will bank on the quality of finishing from Riyad Mahrez, even though he is not physically "strong".

The 30-year-old Algerian international has been in great form for the league champions this campaign managing seven Premier League goals from 17 appearances.

Ahead of the Citizen’s top-flight fixture against Norwich City on Saturday, the 51-year-old Spanish tactician has praised the performance of the player saying he is at the highest level and can still get better.

When asked whether Mahrez is enjoying his best form yet with City, Guardiola said as quoted by the club’s official website: “No, last season was the best moment I have found for Riyad.

“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.”

In a recent interview, Guardiola praised Mahrez as “special quality” when it comes to penalty-taking after his effort helped the team to sink Fulham 4-1 in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

“As a player, he has a special quality,” Guardiola 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.”

Man City are currently leading the 20-team table with 60 points from 24 matches, nine more than second-placed Liverpool, who have played one match less, while Chelsea are third on 47 points from 24 outings.

Mahrez will hope to keep his starting role when City travel to face the Canaries at Carrow Road on Saturday.