Pep Guardiola has apologised to Riyad Mahrez for not playing him as frequently as he may have expected, insisting the Algerian has done nothing wrong.
Mahrez became Manchester City‘s club record transfer last summer when he completed a £60 million move from Leicester City, although he has been restricted to just 10 starts in the Premier League this season.
He has however made 33 appearances in total this season, scoring nine goals, and he could be afforded another chance to impress this evening when City face Newport County in the FA Cup fifth round.
Speaking ahead of the David v Goliath clash, Pep Guardiola has insisted that it’s only down to the ‘top, top form,’ of Bernardo Silva and Raheem Sterling that is keeping the 27-year-old out of the starting lineup.
“I am the reason [he has not played]. He is absolutely not guilty,” Guardiola said in his pre-match press conference.
“I am sad because he is training incredibly. He is an incredibly talented player but in this moment we have five strikers. In the last games Leroy hasn’t played.
“We have incredible players, like for example Bernardo and Raz [Sterling] in top, top form and that is the only reason why. There’s no particular reason, like being upset or something like that.
“He is a guy we are happy with but unfortunately I am not kind with him. In fact, I cannot give him the minutes he deserves, so I’m sorry. That’s all I can say.”