Men's Team

Riyad Mahrez relishing City's hectic schedule

Riyad Mahrez relishing City's hectic schedule
Riyad Mahrez says he loves the relentless nature of Manchester City’s fixture schedule.

With the COVID-19 pandemic condensing the 2020/21 season, Pep Guardiola’s side have played three games a week for much of the campaign and face a hectic finale as we remain in the hunt for trophies in four competitions.

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Mahrez has featured in 40 of City’s 48 games so far, with Guardiola carefully managing his squad to cope with demands of the busy calendar.

A crucial seven-day period, which begins against Leeds United on Saturday and includes a trip to Borussia Dortmund for the second leg of a finely balanced Champions League quarter-final before a crucial FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea, encapsulates the challenge faced by City.

But is something Mahrez has embraced, with the Algerian winger enjoying the focus it requires.

“I really love and enjoy [the busy schedule of games],” he said ahead of Leeds’ visit to the Etihad Stadium.

“I really enjoy playing every three days. I am really happy and like it. We just get ready and are living for football.

“We go home, we eat, we sleep and our focus is on football. Every three or four days we are ready.”

WATCH: Quickfire questions: Mahrez on his best City game, idols and childhood nickname!

Mahrez is in a rich vein of form as we approach the business end of the season, with two goals and two assists in his last five appearances, whilst he was also on target for Algeria during the March international break.

The 30-year-old feels he is reaping the benefits of his experience and says he and his team-mates are ready to try and win an unprecedented quadruple.

“We just aim to try and win everything that we can,” he added.

“It is not going to be easy, but we arrive in the last stage of the season and we have to be ready to try and win everything.

“I think I feel good, I am not sure if I am in the best [form of my career], but I feel very good at the moment.

“Maybe it is experience. I am 30 and I know I have more games, so maybe experience is a reason [for this form].”

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Mahrez has played at various levels throughout his career, with his journey into the professional game starting in the French second tier with Le Havre.

His pace and trickery have taken him to the top of his profession, earning him a reputation as one of the Premier League’s most skilful operators, but it is on the streets of France where he honed his repertoire of tricks.

A quintessential street footballer, City’s No.27 is comfortable receiving the ball in the tightest of spaces and says his early experiences allowed him to excel in the professional ranks.

“It is good to have these types of skills,” Mahrez explained.

“When you are playing outside on the street with skills, it is much better for you when you play on the big pitch with the bigger players.

“When you have this skill it is easier. It is about technique, control, dribbling and I just learnt this playing street football.”

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