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Man City boss Guardiola gives Mahrez a week break after Algeria's Afcon exit

16:06 IST 21/01/2022
Guardiola, Mahrez
The 2016 African Footballer of the Year struggled to impress in Cameroon as the Desert Foxes failed to defend the title they won in 2019

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola confirmed that Algeria captain Riyad Mahrez has a week long holiday after his country’s elimination from the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

Mahrez played every minute in the Desert Foxes' underwhelming campaign in Cameroon which came to an end after a 3-1 loss to Ivory Coast.

The 30-year-old capped his uninspiring performance by missing a penalty in Thursday's match and Algeria finished at the bottom of Group E with just a point after three games.

His last outing for Man City was on New Year's Day when he scored the equaliser in their 2-1 comeback win over Arsenal in a Premier League game.

Guardiola is not expecting Mahrez to return for their trip to Southampton on Saturday.

When asked about the availability of the African star, the Spanish coach told the media. “Holiday for a week. After the African Cup of Nations, he has permission to take one week off and come back with the team next week.”

Mahrez has contributed 13 goals and five assists after 25 appearances for Pep Guardiola's team across all competitions this season.

Manchester City sit atop of the Premier League table with an 11-point lead above second-placed Liverpool after 22 games.

After Saturday’s outing, Guardiola added that the rest of his players have also been granted a week long break before they take on Fulham in the FA Cup fourth round on February 5.

“They will have a few days off to rest a little bit,” he said. “Most of them never have a week off because they go to the national teams. They can spend time with their families and friends.

“We spoke with the club and it’s not safe enough to go there all together right now because of the coronavirus. We decide that everyone can go with themselves with their families.”