Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez (left) scores a goal against Chelsea in London on Sunday. Pic/Getty Images
Pep Guardiola was all praise for his winger Riyad Mahrez whose inspirational brace saw them rout Chelsea 4-0 in a FA Cup third-round match at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday night. "The quality from Riyad is everything. He helped us to break the game. It was really good, but always at zero-zero things can happen and a fantastic free-kick. He played an outstanding game, playing wider, playing more narrow, so, yes, good game," said Guardiola after the emphatic win.
"We were really good right from the first minute until the end. We made an incredible, intense game against a top side and we improved our game from the last game we played against them three days ago [City had won the English Premier League clash 1-0]," added Guardiola.
Mahrez began the demolition with a fine free-kick after which Julian Alvarez's penalty and a Phil Foden strike made it 3-0 before half-time. Mahrez's late spot-kick capped Chelsea's first FA Cup third round exit since 1998 after they had finished runners-up in the competition for the last three years.
Chelsea are languishing in 10th place in the Premier League - 10 points adrift of the top four - and manager Graham Potter is already beginning to feel the heat just four months after replacing the sacked Thomas Tuchel. Chelsea have won only three of their last 12 games in all competitions, but Guardiola urged the Blues hierarchy to give their new manager more time to make his methods work.
"I would say to Todd Boehly [Chelse owner], give him [Potter] time. I know in big clubs, results are important but I'd say give him time. What he's done at Brighton is outstanding, but we need time in the first season. I had [Lionel] Messi in Barcelona my first season, so I didn't need two seasons because Messi was there," he said.
Chelsea did not muster a single shot in a first half that Potter described as "painful". He said: "The results in a small space of time are not positive. You can make excuses and look for reasons or say it isn't good enough. Both those answers are correct. We have to keep improving and stick together because clearly we are suffering," said Potter.
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