Pep Guardiola explains why Rihad Mahrez hasn't been starting at Manchester City

Newcastle United v Manchester City - Premier League

It’s been a frustrating debut season for Riyad Mahrez at Manchester City.

The winger, who joined the title chasers for £60million from Leicester last summer, is still waiting for a regular spot in the City side.

Mahrez has only started 15 games out of City’s 28 in all competitions and is yet to play a full 90 minutes in the Premier League in 2019.

Meanwhile, the Manchester side are enjoying the services of Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling and Bernado Silva with the trio playing a vital role in City’s title charge this season.

And that is exactly why Mahrez is having to take the back seat, according to boss Pep Guardiola.

The City manager has insisted that the Algerian has done nothing wrong, taking responsibility for his lack of game time, saying via Sky Sports: “I am the reason (he has not played). He is absolutely not guilty.

"I am sad because he is training incredibly. He is an incredibly talented player but in this moment we have five strikers. In the last games Leroy hasn't played.

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"We have incredible players, like for example Bernardo and Raz [Sterling] in top, top form and that is the only reason why. There's no particular reason, like being upset or something like that.

"He is a guy we are happy with but unfortunately I am not kind with him. In fact, I cannot give him the minutes he deserves, so I'm sorry. That's all I can say."

Mahrez only has 10 Premier League starts under his belt this season but has used the domestic competitions and the Champions League for regular game time.

Manchester City v FC Shakhtar Donetsk - UEFA Champions League Group F

So the next set of fixtures could be very important for the Algerian.

City face Newport in the FA Cup this weekend before returning to Champions League action on Wednesday ahead of their Carabao Cup final next Sunday.

Start and impress in those three games and Guardiola could be in for a real selection headache ahead of their next league game against West Ham in just over a week’s time.

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