Riyad Mahrez admitted Manchester City had to change their tactics to overcome Paris Saint-German after his double booked their spot in the Champions League final.
The Citizens led 2-1 after the first leg at the Parc des Princes. And they secured a comprehensive 2-0 victory on the night and 4-1 aggregate success with a stellar showing at the Etihad Stadium. Mahrez opened the scoring in the 11th minute, picking up the rebound after Kevin de Bruyne’s initial shot had been saved.
And Mahrez felt Pep Guardiola’s men found their feet as the match progressed.
“It was a very good game. We didn’t start well again – we didn’t have a good first half but we got the goal and we were more comfortable,” he told BT Sport. “We played well second half and we could have scored more. They lost their nerve and started to kick us and after the red card it was more comfortable.”
PSG were forced to go on the offensive after the early goal left them 3-1 behind on aggregate. That meant City were pinned in their own half for long periods, relying on quick breakaways for their attacks.
And, although not in the pre-match brief, the African felt it was key to be able to adapt to the situation.
“It wasn’t the game plan to counter attack, but they had to come at us and maybe at times we were a bit deeper and we are good on the counter,” he added. “That’s how the two goals came about and we are happy.”
Mahrez already looking ahead
Pep Guardiola: 'Don't say after game we don't pay attention'
Pep Guardiola says his side's defeat in the FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea on Saturday was not down to a lack of respect for the competition after he made eight changes to his starting line-up.
City will play either Chelsea or Real Madrid in the final. They have already won the EFL Cup and can wrap up the league with victory over the Blues on Saturday.
It has been a superb season for the north-west giants and the Algeria international feels he has found the formula for success.
“You have to be solid and everybody has to be solid defensively and that’s why we did,” the 30-year-old continued. “We didn’t concede much and I think that’s why we’re in the final. It’s good.
“We have another game on Saturday we need to win to be league champions and then we’ll concentrate on the Champions League final.”