Pep Guardiola explains why Riyad Mahrez is not starting for Man City

Mahrez struggles for game time in 2019

Riyad Mahrez joined Manchester City in July of 2018 from Leicester for a fee of around £60m.

Mahrez enjoyed a decent first half of the season at City. The winger scored five and assisted two in the league.

He also scored one and assisted four in the Champions League group stages.

While Mahrez was perhaps not performing as well as his high price tag may have warranted, he was still getting games and improving.

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 25: Pep Guardiola the head coach / manager of Manchester City during the Carabao Cup Final between Arsenal and Manchester City at Wembley Stadium on February 25, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Guardiola on why Mahrez hasn’t been starting

The start of 2019 though has so far, been one to forget for Mahrez.

Manchester City have currently played seven Premier League fixtures in 2019.

Mahrez has been merely a spectator from the bench on four of those occasions with the Algerian missing out on the matchday squad completely vs Huddersfield.

The 27-year-old has only featured twice for City in the league this calendar year.

The first appearance was a two-minute cameo vs Arsenal and the second a 22-minute appearance vs Chelsea.

Guardiola has since explained the reason why he has not been playing Mahrez much this year:

“I am the reason. He is not absolutely guilty or he doesn’t feel any special reason why.

“ I am sad because he is training incredibly. He is an incredibly talented player but in that moment we have five strikers.

“For example the last games Leroy Sané hasn’t played. We have incredible players, like for example Bernardo and Raz in top, top form.

“That is the only reason why. There’s no particular reason, like being upset or something like that.”

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