Riyad Mahrez reveals Pep Guardiola’s training chat that helped spark Man City’s goalscoring form.
City forward Riyad Mahrez is enjoying the best goalscoring form of his career and explained how he has developed
Two goals in the Manchester derby took Mahrez to 21 goals for the season.
That is his best-ever haul with at least 13 games to go this season; he’s averaging a goal every 96 minutes in all competitions.
Guardiola has spoken warmly about the character of the player to step up in big moments, including when solving the team’s long-running issue — converting penalties.
Mahrez, 31, does not consider himself to be the finished article and has been working with the coaching staff to enhance his threat in front of the goal.
But he is also grateful to the manager for giving him some artistic license in the final third.
“I always think I need to add things to my game. Pep worked with me a lot as well to do this, to improve more in my runs, to be more in the box, and to be where you can score goals,” he said.
“He always gives us attacking players the freedom in the last 30 metres. You can do whatever you want. He obviously gives you the information of where he thinks the spaces are but at the end it is about you. The pitch belongs to us and he will never stop you from dribbling or anything else.
“I think I have grown as a player a lot and as a person as well [at City]. I have achieved more and have proved a lot. We have won a few trophies and we went to the final of the Champions League for the first time. I think it is all positive.”
Mahrez has actually already passed his own target for the season in terms of goalscoring.
“In my head I always try to get close to 20 goals, so I am one up! The most important thing for me is if the team wins and the team plays good,” he said.
“Even if we win everything at the end of the season and I stay on 21 goals I would be happy. Above everything I just want to win and want to achieve things with the team.