Guardiola hails ‘special talent’ Mahrez after breaking Manchester City duck

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The winger came off the bench in the Citizens’ win against Neil Warnock’s men to open his Premier League account for the season

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has praised Riyad Mahrez as 'a special talent' after he broke his duck in their 5-0 thrashing of Cardiff City on Saturday.

The Algeria international was introduced for Sergio Aguero in the 61st minute – his sixth league appearance for the Etihad Stadium outfit since his club-record move from Leicester City in the summer.

Minutes later, the 27-year-old rounded up the Citizens' emphatic win at the Cardiff City Stadium with a brace after goals from Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Ikay Gundogan had given the visitors a three-goal lead in the first half.

However, Guardiola, pleased with the winger's display, is positive that the 2016 PFA Player of the Year will play a crucial role as his team aims to retain the league title.

“He played well. He’s a guy who’s going to help us a lot," Guardiola told the club website.

"He is a special talent and in front of the goal he has incredible quality.

“We are so satisfied with him. We won 5-0 in Cardiff, conceded few chances, so, yeah, very pleased.”

Meanwhile, the former Barcelona tactician was impressed with his team’s overall performance and winning response after Wednesday’s Uefa Champions League loss to Lyon.

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“The level today was the level of last season. Were a little bit under par in the first half on Wednesday, but we must not forget Champions League opponents are good, too,” he added.

“We knew, it’s part of the process. The season is long, there are a lot of games to play and it’s important after one bad result that the team came back to where it normally is.

“To score goals you have to be patient. We were patient, we didn’t suffer in the long balls and free-kicks and that’s important.”

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