Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has described Riyad Mahrez as a 'smart' and 'talented' player ahead of their crunch league fixture against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
A week ago, the Algeria international produced an outstanding performance with two assists as City romped to a 5-0 victory over West Ham United in their opening Premier League game.
In the absence of Bernardo Silva and injured Leroy Sane, Mahrez dazzled in the attack for the reigning champions.
Delighted by how he has taken his chance, Guardiola cautioned that the season is just getting started for the 28-year-old, who captained Algeria to glory at 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in July.
“First of all, there is this tendency after one game, when he didn’t play as much last season, to say that now this is his season. Be calm,” Guardiola was quoted by the club website.
“As I said in the last press conference in London after the game against West Ham, the only reason Riyad didn’t play quite regularly last season was because of my decision.
“For players of this type of quality, as a winger, of course it is hard to find rhythm and control. Most of the time Bernardo played and he won five titles last season and he played incredibly well.
“Riyad is a smart guy, he’s intelligent, he’s a talented player. He knows what we want and he’s able to do it.
“He’s good for our competitors, for Leroy and Bernardo, and he’s ready to take his position.”