Manchester City are well and truly in the title race, after fall off for a while, and their manager is calling on the players to step up and deliver.
Pep Guardiola has challenged Riyad Mahrez to play a key role in Manchester City‘s quadruple bid. This comes after the club’s record signing has struggled to live up to his hefty price tag. The manager also sighted that fatigue might be a concern in the coming weeks. He has urged players like Mahrez and Jesus, who have been on the fringes, to step up when the opportunity presents itself.
” I’m going to take decisions based on performances”
Riyad Mahrez was handed a rare start by the Spaniard against West Ham. But the former Leicester man struggled to deliver the kind of performance that handed him a move to Manchester in the first place. “Football depends on one second most of the time,” explained Guardiola after the West Ham win.
“It’s arriving at the right time, at the right moment. Kevin De Bruyne made three incredible actions early in the game and Riyad was one second later. Just half a second before, Riyad was in the perfect position. So Riyad played well but, unfortunately, his early chance, he would usually score, he missed.”So Guardiola is looking for better productivity from Mahrez and all his other squad players over what could be a historic final few weeks of the season as they chase three more trophies.
“Hypothetically, we have 20 games left in the season. 10 Premier League games and if we get to the finals of the cups. If you think we are only going to play with Bernardo and Raheem, that is not going to happen,” Guardiola continued.“They know what they have to do, train hard, compete hard, they are going to play minutes. With some players, it will be easy for me; but some players can’t sustain (playing) every three days. Everybody has to make their contribution then, when I see their performance, I’m going to take decisions. I can’t live with just Sergio Aguero, for example, we need Gabriel (Jesus) to come as quickly as possible to help us to do that.”
Pep Guardiola has rightly called out Mahrez for his sub-par performances.
City have enough in the tank but it must be some concern for Guardiola that quality players like Sane and Mahrez are not able to step-in effectively when required.
There has been a clear drop-off in levels of the Algerian international. After continuously pushing for a move, he has struggled to deliver when expectations are high. Mahrez has to pull his socks up soon or else he will be pushed out of relevance among Europe’s elite.