Riyad Mahrez finally believes he is a true Manchester City champion.
And that’s bad news for the rest of the title hopefuls, according to his manager Pep Guardiola, who believes his forward has a special gift.
The City wide player produced a stunning performance at Everton, helping his side to an important victory that keeps the pressure on Liverpool at the top of the table.
And Guardiola believes it stems from a summer when Mahrez found belief and confidence with his nation Algeria’s triumph at the Africa Cup of Nations.
“I think the Africa Cup made him believe how good he can be. He knows it, but I think it helps to win this kind of trophy for Algeria, for his country,” the City boss explained.
“It was so important for him. And from the beginning, he arrived (back) with an incredible mentality, positive and the way he plays.
“He has the feeling when he gets that ball in that position, the 18-yard box close to the area, something is going to happen.
“It’s a feeling and I think all the spectators can have that feeling and that is because he has a gift. He has something special.”
Mahrez produced a vital free kick which ended Everton’s strong resistance and won City a game that was in the balance for a long time.
He also produced a brilliant assist to open the scoring, and Guardiola says he has been the outstanding player so far this season.
“All this season he is playing outstanding. The action on the first goal, the second one, the two assist he did, one especially to Raheem.
“His commitment defensively. One year he was the best player in the league so he is an exceptional player. I’m happy for him because he’s playing at an incredible level.”