Missing the penalty to give Manchester City the win in the 0-0 draw against Liverpool, Riyad Mahrez is now with the Algeria national team, trying to put his mishap in the past.
Normally a guaranteed starter with his country, the arrival of new manager Djamel Belmadi could mean that changes if the winger doesn’t perform as well as other players.
Speaking to the press ahead of their double fixture against Benin in the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, the 42-year-old coach said it ‘wouldn’t be the end of the world’ if the Manchester City star ended up on the bench for a game or so, it would just mean he’s among 22 other national team members.
However, that doesn’t mean that’s what will happen, as he knows what the forward can do, and believes he knows how to get the best out of him.
He said, relayed by Competition: “I have faith in Riyad Mahrez. My idea is that good players like him, you need to love them. I know that what he did at Leicester and what he’s doing at Manchester City is different to what he’s showing with the national team. Maybe there’s a context, but I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to find a solution.”
He continued: “I’m saying that Riyad, you need to love him, show him all our trust and put him in the best possible situations. He also knows what he needs to do. He wants to shine with his country. In fact, he spent all his holiday at Tlemcen. Let him know he’s a great player, and he’ll give you what you want”.
So far this season, Mahrez has spent more time on the bench than off it under Pep Guardiold, who has only recently started giving him a run of games.
Starting just three games in the Premier League this season, the forward has still managed to score three goals in 12 appearances in all competitions, including two in 29 minutes against Cardiff.