Pep Guardiola has sung the praises of Man City ace Riyad Mahrez, revealing the trait he is ‘most proud of’ when it comes to the Algeria international.
Mahrez bagged City’s opening goal as they beat Peterborough United 2-0 away from home in the FA Cup fifth round. City went into the match as strong favourites but did not have it all their own way in the first half. Peterborough remained solid at the back and even had a chance to take the lead through Jeando Fuchs.
City’s array of talent began to show in the second half and they eventually got their goal with 60th minutes gone. Mahrez continued his exceptional campaign by sending a guided effort into the bottom corner on his left foot.
Jack Grealish made it 2-0 soon afterwards, bagging his first ever FA Cup goal in the process. He was picked out by a raking Phil Foden pass and proceeded to beat the goalkeeper with a calm finish.
Peterborough never really threatened to get back into the match and City saw out the win to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.
When asked about Mahrez and his effectiveness from the right flank, Guardiola told ITV: “He’s been playing in that position all of his career, [including] in Leicester. We know the quality Riyad has. What I’m proud of the most is the fact he loves football, he loves playing.
Pep Guardiola hails goalscorers
“For him it is not a profession, it’s a joy. And that’s why he will play every single game, every single day. Of course, he has incredible quality up front.”
On Grealish, Guardiola added: “He played really well. He had a chance in the first half which was more difficult. For him, for all of us, it’s so important that he’s back from injury. He played at a really good level.”
The Spaniard was also asked about Grealish’s England team-mate Foden. “Phil is an exceptional player. He can play up front, attacking midfield. It was brilliant the way he played,” Guardiola replied.
Guardiola was also quizzed about the possibility of City winning the treble – the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup. But the coach would not entertain the idea of such an achievement, at least for now.
Grealish praises Foden, Zinchenko
During a post-match interview with ITV, Grealish praised team-mates Foden and Zinchenko – but for largely different reasons.
“What’s funny is that before the game, while we were on the coach, I was sat next to Phil. We were scrolling through videos of [Lionel] Messi.
“After scoring he came up to me and said it was just like what we were watching.”
When asked about Ukraine international Zinchenko, Grealish added: “It’s actually been quite emotional, he is such a big character.
“We have had to be there for him. But fair play to him, he captained the side and I think he was brilliant.”