Riyad Mahrez has set his sights on inspiring Manchester City’s trophy push as the Algeria winger enjoys his best run of form for the Premier League champions.
Mahrez was City’s man of the match as his crucial strike set the stage for a 3-1 win at Everton on Saturday.
The 28-year-old’s fine free-kick put City ahead for good in the second half. It continued his fine run of form since helping Algeria to success in the Africa Cup of Nations in July.
When that tournament ended, City were already one game into their pre-season tour of Asia, meaning Mahrez had little respite from competitive action before the Premier League resumed.
But after a first season at the Etihad Stadium in which he did not command a regular starting spot, he feels that was for the best.
“I didn’t have much holidays but that is what I wanted, because I wanted to be ready straightaway,” he said. “I am happy but I have to keep going.”
Mahrez troubled Everton throughout at Goodison Park and set up a glorious early chance for Ilkay Gundogan which the German remarkably hit against the bar.
City did take the lead through Gabriel Jesus but were pegged back by Dominic Calvert-Lewin. It took late strikes from Mahrez and Raheem Sterling to secure victory.
Pep Guardiola’s side remain five points behind Liverpool, but Mahrez was relieved last season’s treble winners kept in touch with the unbeaten leaders.
“We could have killed the game in the first half, first 20 (minutes) – we had a lot of chances – but didn’t, compared to the game against Watford where we had five chances and we scored five goals,” Mahrez said.
“But I guess we have to go through this type of game. I think we made a good game and we are happy to have won.”