MX23RW : Wednesday, December 19 02:12:59

Mahrez still adjusting to life at Manchester City after brace at Cardiff

The Algeria international scored his first goals for new club in the 5-0 win.

Riyad Mahrez believes he is set to reap the rewards after adjusting to life at Manchester City.

Mahrez has had limited game-time since City broke their club transfer record in July by signing him from Leicester for £60million.

But the Algeria international claimed his first City goals on Saturday as a second-half brace helped the Premier League champions demolish Cardiff 5-0.

"It's not been a tough time for me," Mahrez said after scoring two in a league game for the first time since Leicester's title-winning season of 2015-16.

"When you arrive at a big club you have to adapt to the style. The manager (Pep Guardiola) has helped me a lot, and in the last two weeks I have felt a lot better.

"You can see that on the pitch. I never complain, I just work hard in training, and it's paying (off) now.

"But I have to keep going – scoring is not a final thing.

"The style of play is different, but I stayed at Leicester for nearly five years and knew I would need time to adapt at a new club like City."

City were already 3-0 up and cruising through first-half goals from Sergio Aguero, Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan before Mahrez's introduction just after the hour mark.

Mahrez opened his City account within six minutes – "the first time in my career I have scored a tap-in" – before a customary left-footed drive from the 27-year-old completed the rout in the final moments.

It was no exaggeration to suggest that City could have doubled their winning margin, and the performance was an emphatic response to their shock midweek Champions League defeat to Lyon.

"The manager told us it's always good to refocus properly because whether you win or lose, it is always difficult after a Champions League game," Mahrez said.

"It's another game, another atmosphere, and coming away in the league to a place like Cardiff, you need to be on it from the beginning.

"When you win you are on top of everything, and when you lose they put you back down straight away.

"That's why you have to stay strong mentally and always be the same, to keep going every game."

Cardiff's defeat was their heaviest during Neil Warnock's two years in charge and dropped the newly-promoted Bluebirds in to the relegation zone for the first time this season.

Lee Peltier was stretchered off during Cardiff's defeat
Lee Peltier was stretchered off during Cardiff's defeat (David Davies/PA)

After successive defeats to Arsenal, Chelsea and City, the importance of next weekend's visit from Burnley can not be understated.

"Burnley is massive now," said Cardiff defender Greg Cunningham. "They won this weekend but they've had a slow start by their standards.

"We have to start getting some wins on the board and try and make the Cardiff City Stadium a fortress.

"Against top-six opposition you are going to struggle and find it hard, but we need to win against the teams around us."


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Sol Bamba celebrates his shock opener during the Premier League game between Chelsea and Cardiff City on September 15, 2018
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Liverpool1714303773045
2Manchester CityMan City17142148103844
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs17130431161539
4Chelsea17114235142137
5Arsenal17104337231434
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd177552929026
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves177461919025
8Everton176652422224
9West Ham UnitedWest Ham177372525024
10Watford177372325-224
11Bournemouth177282528-323
12Leicester CityLeicester176472121022
13Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton176382024-421
14Newcastle UnitedNewcastle174491422-816
15Crystal Palace1743101423-915
16Cardiff CityCardiff1742111733-1614
17Southampton172691632-1612
18Burnley1733111533-1812
19Huddersfield TownHuddersfield1724111028-1810
20Fulham1723121642-269

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