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Mahrez still 'learning' at Man City after being asked to change his ways by Guardiola

6:39 PM IST 08/04/19
Riyad Mahrez Manchester City 2018-19
The Blues made the Algeria international their record signing when landing him from Leicester, with his talents added to an already star-studded squad

Riyad Mahrez admits he is still taking in a “learning process” at Manchester City, with the demands of Pep Guardiola and competition within a star-studded squad forcing him to change his ways.

The Blues broke their transfer record to land the Algeria international from Leicester in the summer of 2018, with a £60 million ($78m) agreement put in place.

Guardiola already boasted the likes of Raheem Sterling, Leroy Sane and Bernardo Silva within his ranks, but still felt the need to bring in another creative midfielder.

Mahrez had been accustomed to operating on the flanks at Leicester, with his name among the first on the team sheet after helping to inspire a stunning Premier League title success in 2015-16.

He has not found starts as easy to come by at City and has also had to tweak his game in order to meet the expectations of a perfectionist coach.

Mahrez told UEFA’s official website of his experiences at the Etihad Stadium: “What I love is being free to express myself on the pitch, and to just move around and play.

“That's the most important thing to me. I do like playing in the middle too, but I like starting my moves from the right.

“Things are a little bit different with [Guardiola]. He likes us to stick to the touchline, while I used to enjoy cutting inside.

“It's different, but you have to adapt. It's a learning process – you learn different things from different coaches, as their approaches to the game aren't the same. You just have to adapt to that – that's our role.”

Mahrez added on his decision to leave the King Power Stadium and take on a new challenge in Manchester: “I'd seen it all at Leicester. I needed to experience something different, and to make a step up.

“This club was the perfect one for me to do so, as the game they play suits me well. I also had the desire to work with Pep.

“Our squad includes potential starters only; everybody is good enough to play. We have two really good players in each position, so it's great.

“Everybody challenges each other and tries to help one another improve. There's competition among us and I think it's a good thing.”

Those selection battles have helped to keep City in the hunt for an historic quadruple, with Champions League football next on their agenda as they prepare to face domestic rivals Tottenham at the quarter-final stage.

Mahrez believes European glory is now a matter of time for the Blues, saying: “Winning it would be really incredible.

“I've always wanted to win this type of competition. If it's not this year, I think it will be next year, and we'll do everything to try to win it. We'll have to beat Tottenham first and then we'll see.”