Riyad Mahrez adopting well at Manchester City, but needs more time - Pep Guardiola
MANCHESTER, England -- Pep Guardiola admits it's difficult for new arrivals to adapt to playing for Manchester City after record-signing Riyad Mahrez started the last two games on the bench.
The Algerian winger joined City from Leicester City in the summer for a club-record £60 million and started the Community Shield victory over Chelsea and the Premier League opener at Arsenal.
But he has played just 31 minutes as a substitute in the last two matches although Guardiola insists the 27-year-old has settled quickly at the Etihad Stadium.
"I would say [he is doing] quite, quite well, for how quickly he has adapted and especially for his quality," Guardiola told a news conference ahead of Saturday's clash with Newcastle United. "He's one of the most technical players I've ever seen [for] skills and everything.
"It's just of course there's a lot of information -- the way we want to play, the way we want to do things, the corrections after the games that we have to do, in all things, defensive and offensive set-pieces. But he settled good. He has respect in the locker room and that is the most important thing."
Guardiola is facing a tough tactical decision against Newcastle, who are likely to go with an ultra-defensive setup similar to the one they used in last Sunday's defeat to Chelsea. Rafa Benitez used a similar style against City last season despite losing both Premier League games.
Against Huddersfield, Guardiola used an inventive setup with Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy as virtual wingers rather than wing-backs and a back-three that played a wide and high line. He reverted back to a back-four for last Saturday's draw with Wolves but is likely to switch again to a more attacking style against Newcastle.
Asked if the way City beat Huddersfield was the most effective way to attack Newcastle, Guardiola said: "This kind of analysis I like to do after eight or 10 games. With 10 games played in the same formation, you can say 'okay, good, it works.' But it was just one game.
"We thought in that position at Wolves, for the way they defend, the way they make an approach, the quick wingers they have, to do it a little bit different. It depends on many reasons.
"Sometimes we rotated the team, for everybody to try to be involved. I don't know. I need more time. It really suits perfect the guys who played against Huddersfield."