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FA Cup

Mahrez' quality is everything for Manchester City after display in Chelsea victory - Guardiola

12:55 EAT 09/01/2023
Mahrez Guardiola
Pep Guardiola has heaped praise on winger Riyad Mahrez after he scored two goals in Manchester City's 4-0 FA Cup victory against Chelsea.
  • Mahrez grabbed two goals as Man City dismantled Chelsea
  • Has scored two goals and provided one assist in the league
  • Guardiola labels Mahrez's quality as everything for Man City

WHAT HAPPENED? The 31-year-old Algeria international stole the show during the third-round fixture at the Etihad Stadium after he scored two goals, his first a well-curled free-kick from 25 yards out.

Mahrez then sealed the emphatic victory with the fourth after stepping up to convert from the penalty spot. A foul on Phil Foden from defender Kalidou Koulibaly resulted in the penalty and Mahrez made no mistake with another powerful left-footed effort.

WHAT DID HE SAY? “The quality of Riyad is everything. He loves to play football, he helped us to play the game,” Guardiola said as quoted by the Man City website.

“It was really good. It was a fantastic free-kick. He played an outstanding game. He never lost his love. He loves to play football. The way he is training now and playing was exactly the same in Abu Dhabi. Riyad in important games is fantastic."

WHAT IS MORE? Guardiola believes since the World Cup came to an end, the former Leicester City player has been playing well.

“The last game he didn’t start at Stamford Bridge and the impact he had was incredible," Guardiola added.

“When they play in this way, and maybe complain [about not playing every game] I say ‘yes, you’re right’.

“Before he cannot complain because he wasn’t playing at the level he is now. It’s not just about quality, it's more in football, you have to do more. [But] now since we came back for World Cup, he is playing really, really well.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Mahrez has registered 12 league appearances so far this season, scored two goals, and chipped in with one assist. His first goal of the campaign came in the 4-0 victory against Southampton on October 8.

Last season, he made 28 league appearances, scored 11 goals, and provided five assists.

WHAT NEXT FOR MAHREZ? He will hope to start when Manchester City travel to St. Mary's Stadium to take on Southampton in the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup before they return to league action against Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.