Guardiola Apologises to Algerians for Benching Mahrez Against Newcastle

Guardiola Apologises to Algerians for Benching Mahrez Against Newcastle

Elijah Odetokun
March 6, 2023 at 10:39 AM
  • Manchester City beat Newcastle United 2-0 on Saturday to maintain pressure on Arsenal
  • Winger Riyad Mahrez was unused in the match where Pep Guardiola used only one sub
  • He clarified his decision after the match and issued an apology to the people of Algeria

Manchester City maintained pressure on Arsenal at the top of the Premier League after beating Newcastle United 2-0 in Saturday's lunchtime kick-off.

Hours later, the Gunners staged a dramatic comeback against AFC Bournemouth to win 3-2 despite going behind early in the 11th second of the game from Philip Billing's goal.

Pep Guardiola had more to worry about on Saturday despite the win, facing questions over why some stars were on the bench and why he only used one of his five available substitutions.

Pep Guardiola, Riyad Mahrez, Manchester City.
Riyad Mahrez was an unused substitute in Manchester City's 2-0 win over Newcastle. Photos by Michael Regan/Robbie Jay Barratt.
Source: Getty Images

Guardiola apologises to Algerians

As reported by Reuters, Pep was vocal about the permanent adoption of the five substitution rule, after it was first trialled during the coronavirus pandemic to protect the welfare of players.

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The same man has failed to make substitutions in games afterwards, including recently in the 1-1 draw against RB Leipzig in the UEFA Champions League, as reported by Athletic UK.

He used only one sub in the 2-0 win over Newcastle United at the weekend despite having Riyad Mahrez and Julian Alvarez on the bench.

He was quizzed over this in his post-match conference, as quoted by City Xtra:

“I am so sorry for the Algerian people. It’s not my intention to make you feel sad, but we have other players, for example Julian [Alvarez] from Argentina - who always will be sad with me because he didn’t play."

Guardiola was unwavering in his praise for Mahrez and called him an exceptional player.

“There is Sergio Gomez who is from Spain that is upset with me, also Kalvin Phillips didn’t play today and all the British people are upset with me because he didn’t play... I have to take decisions," he added.

Guardiola on City beating Newcastle

Sports Brief also reported on Guardiola highlighting where City beat Newcastle, identifying two key moments that decided the game in his favour.

The ex-Barcelona manager noted a brilliant first half as well as killing the game with a goal in the second half when momentum was shifting to the Magpies.

Guardiola described the win as an incredible result for the Citizens, commenting on the critical elements from what he has also called a 'tricky game'.

Elijah Odetokun photo
Elijah Odetokun
Elijah Odetokun is Reuters-trained journalist with three years of experience having previously worked at Daily Times Nigeria, OmaSports and El Futbolero.
Pep GuardiolaRiyad Mahrez