Pep Guardiola said he had no concerns about starting Riyad Mahrez in Manchester City’s 5-0 victory over Burnley despite his penalty miss in the goalless draw at Liverpool.
Mahrez retained his place in the starting XI and scored a delightful 20-yard goal as City maintained their lead at the top of the Premier League.
“He played so good at Anfield, that’s why I decided to play him again,” Guardiola told a news conference. “It was not easy playing there with a lot of personality, football can happen but only takers can miss penalties.
“He scored an incredible goal [against Burnley], but an aggressive approach with the ball to go to the full-backs, the movement between the full-backs, especially in the second half with Phil, [Foden] was so good.
“The second half Bernardo [Silva] moved better in that position and we made a good performance.
“But we knew it — he [Mahrez] is a talented player and a guy who likes to play with the ball and he doesn’t miss balls. In the box, he is a dangerous guy because he can go to the byline or score with his left or his right. He is a good signing for us.”
Kevin De Bruyne also played his first minutes in more than two months, coming on a 58th-minute substitute after recovering from knee ligament damage.
“He has no pain, physically he is a guy who is so strong, he needs minutes, this is the first time he played 30 minutes and this is so important,” Guardiola said.
“We have a lot of games but of course he’s not new — not like Riyad — three years together, so when I say something he knows what we have to do.
“He’s another important player and he’s back and will help us to achieve what we want to do. The first target is to play good. From the beginning, we spoke about that.”
Burnley boss Sean Dyche was unhappy with the performance of referee Jon Moss, saying City captain Vincent Kompany should have been sent off in the first minute for a high challenge on Aaron Lennon and that City’s second goal should have been ruled out because the ball went out of play.
“I don’t like red cards if they can be not given, but that one is a red card,” Dyche told reporters. “He [Kompany] is out of control, he doesn’t know where the ball is, he doesn’t know where the man is. It’s just a throw of the leg. It’s high and Lennon has got two stitches. There is no control. We are told control is a big thing.”
Talking about Bernardo Silva’s goal, he added: “With the best view as we can get, the ball is out of play. The biggest learning curve for our players is you have to stay focused.”
Support InfoStride News' Credible Journalism: Only credible journalism can guarantee a fair, accountable and transparent society, including democracy and government. It involves a lot of efforts and money. We need your support. Click here to Donate