Riyad Mahrez arrived at the Etihad Stadium as their record-transfer back then, a fee that has been surpassed by Rodrigo’s summer switch.
It wasn’t until Leroy Sane’s injury in the Charity Shield game this season that Mahrez started to enjoy regular minutes under Pep Guardiola.
“Last year, when I arrived, the manager trusted me and believed in me, but I didn’t make the difference as quick as they thought I would,” he said. “And at a club like City, they don’t have time to wait. There are 20 top players, so I was on the bench when others were performing so it was a bit difficult for me to come back.”
Mahrez has justified his fee with a few outstanding performances this season, bagging 7 goals and 7 assists in 29 outings. He believes he will be at his best once Premier League resumes.
“I played well towards the end of the season (in 2018-19), and I started this season differently. When I’ve played, I’ve been performing so the confidence is here,” the Algerian continued. “When I arrived at City, I noticed how everyone sits back so you have to think differently.
“You have to deal differently with your opponent, and in my case the left-back because he’s always in front of me. They also always have help around him, with a midfielder or the winger, so you have to change your play and your movement. You have to adapt to this. That took me a little bit of time but now I feel I’m set up very well.”
“With what has been happening the past few months, it makes you realise as a footballer what a beautiful job you have,” he said. “You have to love what you’re doing and you have to enjoy the life you have. My love started when I was young, and obviously my dad brought me this passion of the ball and I was playing every day. I just loved it.”
Mahrez added: “I’m always looking to play – I have balls everywhere in my house, so I always try to be in contact with the ball.”
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