Riyad Mahrez was delighted with how Manchester City effectively countered against Paris Saint-Germain, although he suggested that was not their goal in their Champions League semi-final victory.
City reached the final of the European elite club competition for the first time with a 2-0 victory in the second leg which resulted in an aggregate triumph of 4-1.
Mahrez had hit the winner in Paris and added the two goals at the Etihad Stadium, where the pitch was covered in hail after a pre-match shower.
His first came after a long pass from Ederson – “It’s something we work on all the time,” said Mahrez – before Phil Foden led an impressive break for the second.
City were sloppy in possession in the early stages but defended fiercely and quickly found space on offense as PSG advanced.
“I don’t think that was the game plan, but obviously they had to come to us,” Mahrez told BT Sport.
“Sometimes we were a little deeper, they lose the ball and we’re good at the counter too. This is how the two objectives were. We are happy.”
2 – Riyad Mahrez is only the second player to score in both sets of a Champions League semi-final for an English club after Sadio Mané in 2017-18. Precious.
– OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 4, 2021
In addition to his two goals, Mahrez weighed in with a tackle, two clearances and a block. All 10 starters from the outfield contributed at least one clearance for City.
“When you play the semi-final of the Champions League, you have to be solid, everyone has to defend, everyone has to contribute defensively,” added Mahrez.
“That’s what we did. We were very strong today, we didn’t concede a lot, and that’s why we are in the final.
PSG ended with 10 men after Angel Di Maria was sacked for trampling Fernandinho, one of many late incidents as the visitors lost discipline.
The Ligue 1 giants only conceded 12 fouls but won five cards and could have gotten away with it slightly.
Reflecting on the game, Mahrez said: “It was a very good game. We did not start again well. I don’t think we had a very good first half, but we scored the goal and it was more comfortable after the goal.
“Second half, I think we played really well; we had a lot of chances, we could score more.
“Then they lost their nerves and started kicking us. It was good. They had a red card and after that it was more comfortable for us.