Afcon 2019 triumph made ‘exceptional’ Mahrez believe in his quality – Man City boss Guardiola

The Algeria star has been in scintillating form for this season after helping his country win Africa’s foremost football tournament in July

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola highlighted how Algeria’s triumph at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations has helped Riyad Mahrez's form this season.

Since his return from the continental outing in Egypt, Mahrez has been outstanding for the Citizens, contributing three goals and four assists across all competitions this term.

Earlier in the summer, the 28-year-old captained Algeria to end their 29-year wait for an Afcon title and also scored three goals in the process.

After producing a man-of-the-match display in their 3-1 win over Everton on Saturday, Guardiola praised Mahrez as “an exceptional player” who has a special gift.

“He is an exceptional player and I am happy for him because he is playing at an incredible level," Guardiola told the club website.

“I think the Africa Cup of Nations made him believe how good he can be. He knew already, but I think it helps winning this trophy for his country. It was so important for him.

“From the beginning of the season he arrived with an incredible mentality. He was positive in the way he played.

"You have the feeling when he gets the ball on the 18-yard box, close to the area, that something is going to happen.

“I think all the spectators have that feeling and that is because he has a gift. He has something special.”

Mahrez will be looking to build on his fine form when Manchester City host Dinamo Zagreb at the Etihad Stadium for Tuesday’s Uefa Champions League fixture.