Riyad Mahrez is targeting more titles as he reaches a notable career milestone against the side with whom he won his first Premier League crown this weekend.
The Manchester City winger is poised to make his 200th Premier League appearance as former club Leicester visit the Etihad Stadium on Sunday. The Algeria international was named player of the year for his starring role in the Foxes’ memorable title triumph of 2016. He went on to claim a second winner’s medal with City three years later.Mahrez was outstanding when Leicester won the Premier League in 2016 (Martin Rickett/PA)
Liverpool relieved City of their title last season and Mahrez is determined to help win it back.
“I think the Premier League is the best league in the world for me,” said the 29-year-old, who had to delay his return to training this season after testing positive for Covid-19.
“Obviously I didn’t play in all the leagues, but I love it. Two hundred games is an amazing achievement. I obviously want to play 200 or 300 more.
“My time in the Premier League has been very good. I won trophies, I scored some goals, I enjoyed playing in the Premier League, enjoyed home games and away games’ atmospheres, and I hope I will keep going until I retire. “We weren’t good enough to win it last season, and now we know what we can improve on to try to be there at the end of the year.
“I think we have a very good squad and a very good team. I think it’s all about consistency and focus and we’ll be there at the end.”I look back at an unbelievable moment. Everything we achieved as a group of players and as a club was amazing.
City, who began their campaign with a 3-1 victory at Wolves on Monday, come up against a Leicester side who have won their opening two games.Mahrez, who left the King Power Stadium for City in a £60million deal in 2018, still has great fondness for his old club.
He said: “I look back at an unbelievable moment. Everything we achieved as a group of players and as a club was amazing. I spent so many good moments there.
“I think it’s going to be a tough game. Both teams were good last season and have good players. I don’t know how they’re going to play but it’s going to be a tough game.”Bernardo Silva (left) and Sergio Aguero (right) are among the Manchester City absentees this weekend (Nick Potts/PA)
City have a host of absentees. Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Bernardo Silva, Oleksandr Zinchenko and Joao Cancelo are all out injured while Ilkay Gundogan is self-isolating with coronavirus. Nicolas Otamendi is also doubtful and Aymeric Laporte is not fully fit following his positive Covid-19 test.
Manager Pep Guardiola is likely to include a number of youth players in his matchday squad for a game made especially challenging by the strength of the opposition.
Guardiola said: “Leicester, for four or five, six years, have always been there.“It will be incredibly tough, we know it. Always it’s been difficult and this will be no exception.
“But we play at home and, even though we have just 13 players for the first team, I see the team really well in terms of happiness and relations between them.
“The young players help us a lot. We have an exceptional group for Sunday.” READ MORELeicester make offer for Burnley defender James Tarkowski