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Can Pep Guardiola Win the Champions League Again?lang=us - masgaes.com

Man City have everything needed to win the Champions League, says Mahrez

The Algerian winger says the Premier League champions can win in Europe when competition restarts after the coronavirus shutdown

Riyad Mahrez believes that everything is in place for Manchester City[1] to win the Champions League[2] this season.

The Covid-19 pandemic shut down football in Europe in March but it is hoped that the competition can return in August.

City have a strong chance of reaching the quarter-finals of the competition after their 2-1 win away[3] to Real Madrid[4] in February's last-16 first leg, and Mahrez says there is no reason why they can’t lift the trophy for the first time in the club’s history.

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“I think it is a good time to win the Champions League,” the 29-year-old said. “We have the team, we have the manager, we have everything, so it is a good time.

“I don’t know if we are the best, but we are good enough to win it. The Champions League is difficult, everyone wants to win it, so it is going to be a big battle.”

City boss Pep Guardiola has played down his side’s chances of winning the competition, insisting it is difficult without the experience that European heavyweights such as former clubs Bayern Munich[5] and Barcelona[6] have.

But Mahrez was a serial winner last year having earned three trophies with City and then adding the Africa Cup of Nations[7] as captain[8] of Algeria[9].

The winger scored a dramatic last-minute free-kick[10] in the semi-final victory over Nigeria[11] as the country won the trophy for the first time in 29 years.

“The feeling was unbelievable,” he said. “It was a dream for me and for my team-mates from the country. To make my country happy and proud of us like we did was unbelievable.

“I still watch [the goal] sometimes. It was a big honour to score this goal and I was very proud. There are no words to describe this.

“When you are there in the competition you don’t really see the impact, you are making with the team. After, you know the impact and what it means for the Arabic and African people. I am just trying to do my best and make the people proud.”

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Mahrez has been back training with the first team for a week with the Premier League set to return on June 17[12] with the visit of Arsenal.

“It was a bit long without football, but we adapted and now we are back, so it is good,” he added. “With the pandemic going on [training at home and doing online sessions with the group] is something we had to respect and now we have come back to training it is very good.

“Step-by-step we are getting fitter, I am excited. It was good to see my team-mates and the coaches again. It was good to train with everyone and we have had very good weather as well!”

References :
  • Manchester City (www.goal.com)
  • Champions League (www.goal.com)
  • reaching the quarter-finals of the competition after their 2-1 win away (www.goal.com)
  • Real Madrid (www.goal.com)
  • Bayern Munich (www.goal.com)
  • Barcelona (www.goal.com)
  • Africa Cup of Nations (www.goal.com)
  • as captain (www.goal.com)
  • Algeria (www.goal.com)
  • dramatic last-minute free-kick (www.goal.com)
  • Nigeria (www.goal.com)
  • set to return on June 17 (www.goal.com)
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    Riyad Mahrez believes it's Manchester City's 'time' to win the Champions League

    Riyad Mahrez believes the time is right for Manchester City to win the Champions League this season after declaring they have the players and manager to conquer Europe.

    City have a 2-1 lead from the first leg of their last-16 tie against Real Madrid after coming from behind to win in the Bernabeu, with the competition belatedly due to finish in August.

    And both of last season’s finalists, Liverpool and Tottenham, already knocked out, they won’t have to face the teams who eliminated them in the previous two campaigns.

    Winger Mahrez helped make Leicester champions of England for the first time ever and Algeria African Cup of Nations winners for the first time since 1990 and now has his sights set on another historic achievement.

    “I think it is a good time to win the Champions League,” he said. “We have the team, we have the manager, we have everything, so it is a good time.

    "I don’t know if we are the best, but we are good enough to win it. The Champions League is difficult, everyone wants to win it, so it is going to be a big battle.

    “The feeling [of winning AFCON] was unbelievable. It was a dream for me and for my teammates from the country.

    "To make my country happy and proud of us like we did was unbelievable. He [manager Djamel Belmadi] changed a lot of things. If he wasn’t here, I don’t think we would have won the African Cup of Nations.

    "He is a very good manager. He can be close to the players but also very strict and demands a lot from us. The secret is work, work, work and focus.”

    Confederation of African Football president Ahmad Ahmad, left, presents the Africa Cup of Nations trophy to Algeria's Riyad Mahrez at the Cairo International Stadium last week. AFP Confederation of African Football president Ahmad Ahmad, left, presents the Africa Cup of Nations trophy to Algeria's Riyad Mahrez. AFP

    Mahrez has played a greater role in his second season at City and accepted it took a while to adjust to Pep Guardiola’s more possession-based style of football.

    He explained: “You have to get used to it at first but when you get used to it and you train a long time with Pep and everyone else it is easy.

    "I adapted because I like the way we play, the way there is space, the attacking game, so that is my type of game.

    “Leicester was more of a counter-attacking team and at City we are more attacking, you have to break down teams. It is completely different type of game. You have to adapt, and I think I am very good with that and happy.”

    City are due to face Arsenal on June 17 in the first day of Premier League fixtures and Mahrez has savoured a return to training and renewing acquaintances with his colleagues after working out at home and doing sessions online.

    He added: “It was something we had to respect and now we have come back to training it is very good. Step by step we are getting fitter, so it is good.

    "I am excited. It was good to see my teammates and the coaches again. It was good to train with everyone and we have had very good weather as well."

    Updated: May 30, 2020 08:54 AM

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    The 10 Premier League games you HAVE to watch including Everton v Liverpool and Man United v Spurs

    The 10 Premier League games you HAVE to watch: Jose Mourinho's must-win reunion with Manchester United, a potentially decisive Merseyside derby and the BBC's first EVER broadcast shouldn't be missed as fans prepare for a feast of live football on TV
  • All of the remaining 92 Premier League games this season will be shown on TV
  • A provisional list of the first three full rounds of fixtures have been sent to clubs
  • Aston Villa vs Sheffield United will kick off a feast of football for football fans
  • Tottenham v Man United and the Merseyside derby take place on first weekend
  • Sportsmail picks the 10 games you cannot afford to miss when football returns 
  • By Joe Strange for MailOnline[1]

    Published: 07:07 EDT, 5 June 2020 | Updated: 07:23 EDT, 5 June 2020

    The rest of the Premier League[2] season might be being played out behind closed doors, but that means a feast of live football is about to hit our screens.

    In a move designed to stop match-going fans from missing their team in action - and to give a sport-starved nation a boost during lockdown - every single one of the remaining 92 fixtures will be broadcast live in the UK.

    Other a third of those - or 33 to be precise - will be available for free after top-flight chiefs agreed a landmark deal with to show matches without a subscription cost.

    All 92 remaining Premier League games this season will be shown live on TV in the UK

    Sky Sports will show 25 games for free, plus another 39 on their regular platform, while the BBC and Amazon will also broadcast four free games each.

    And with BT Sport showing showing another 20 live clashes, the last six weeks of the season promises to be unlike anything we've seen before.

    So, with the first three rounds of fixtures now all but confirmed and kick-off times spread out to ensure every match has its own standalone slot, which games can you not afford to miss?

    Here, Sportsmail picks out the 10 games from the first 32 that you absolutely must watch when the Premier League makes a welcome return later this month.

    The BBC will air four live Premier League matches when the top flight returns on June 17

    1. Wednesday, June 17, 6pm - Aston Villa v Sheffield United (Sky Sports)

    This one's a no-brainer, right? After more than three months without Premier League football - the last game was Leicester's 4-0 thrashing of Villa on March 9 - the top-flight returns with a crucial game at both ends of the table.

    Villa and Sheffield United have experienced very different seasons after earning promotion last season, with Dean Smith's men in the midst of a relegation battle and the Blades still hoping to seal a shock European spot after a remarkable campaign

    But while the game is important, the first one back on our screens is a must-watch as we start to get used to a new normal during the coronavirus pandemic.

    How will Sky's coverage differ to the rest of the season? Will they use crowd noise  and CGI fans to try and improve the atmosphere? Will the players tackle and play in the same manner as they did before all this started?

    This game will give us a glimpse at the answers to those questions and a whole lot more. Don't miss it. 

    Aston Villa vs Sheffield United will be the first game back on our screens on June 17 at 6pm 

    2. Wednesday, June 17, 8pm - Manchester City v Arsenal (Sky Sports)

    Are you even a proper football fan if you don't watch back-to-back games to celebrate the return of the division we all love?

    Straight after Villa's clash with Sheffield United, Sky Sports will switch their attention to the Premier League's other 'game in hand' as Arsenal travel to Manchester City.

    Social media is sure to be filled with jokes about the Etihad looking like it does on a normal matchday, but this fixture should - on paper at least - be a jump in quality from the early kick-off.

    It's also the second opportunity we'll get to see Master vs Apprentice as Mikel Arteta returns to the north west to take on Pep Guardiola, the man who taught him a good chunk of what he knows during his time on City's coaching staff.

    Pep Guardiola (left) will take on his former assistant Mikel Arteta (right) when City face Arsenal

    3. Friday, June 19, 8pm - Tottenham vs Manchester United (Sky Sports)

    Another reunion worth tuning arrives a couple of days later when Jose Mourinho welcomes Manchester United to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

    With pubs and bars around the UK still closed, there's no excuse not to settle down for this Friday night encounter and watch as the Portuguese does everything he can to get one over his old club - and the man who replaced him, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

    It could also prove to be a crucial fixture in the race for Champions League football, with a win for Spurs enough to propel them to within a point of United and four of Chelsea, who currently occupy fourth spot.

    And we could even get the chance to see Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba play alongside each other for the first time after the Frenchman finally recovered from injury.

    Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho faces a must-win game against his old club Manchester United

    4. Saturday, June 20, 7.45pm - Bournemouth v Crystal Palace (BBC)

    Right, hear me out before you start asking why you should spend your Saturday night watching relegation-threatened Bournemouth take on mid-table Palace.

    This is the first ever Premier League game to be shown live on the BBC and, as Gary Lineker has made clear on Twitter, they're very excited about the opportunity.

    Expect some great pundits and the added bonus of no adverts, plus the Cherries' perilous position in the table should mean we see an attack-minded performance from the home side at least.

    There's also a good chance that if you tune in you'll contribute to a fairly average match becoming the most-watched Premier League game in history. 

    Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha will go up against Bournemouth in the BBC's first live game

    5. Sunday, June 21, 7pm - Everton v Liverpool (Sky Sports)

    If Arsenal manage to beat Manchester City on reopening night, Liverpool will need a win over bitter rivals Everton on Sunday evening to seal their first ever Premier League title.

    We're not sure if the game will be held at Goodison Park or a neutral venue yet, but the chance to seal the trophy against the Toffees - even if it's a couple of hundred miles away at Wembley - has the red half of Merseyside licking their lips.

    A 0-0 draw at Goodison last season effectively cost Jurgen Klopp's men the title and the most optimistic Evertonian might be hoping a rare Merseyside derby victory could send Mohamed Salah and Co into a spiral of defeats.  

    However unrealistic that might be, this historically feisty fixture is always a must-watch, especially as Sky have confirmed they will be showing it free of charge. 

    Liverpool could seal the Premier League title when they face local rivals Everton on June 21

    6. Tuesday, June 23, 8.15pm - Tottenham v West Ham (Sky Sports)

    If Tottenham's poor pre-lockdown form continues with a defeat against Manchester United in their first game back, Mourinho will find himself under the microscope when West Ham travel to north London four days later.

    The former Chelsea boss oversaw a miserable run of results before football came to a halt, and another poor showing against their London rivals will only increase the doubts among Spurs' already dubious fanbase.

    The Hammers, meanwhile, have plenty to play for themselves and are only out of the drop zone on goal difference as it currently stands.

    There's been some cracking encounters between these two sides over the years. Another five-goal thriller, as we witnessed at the London Stadium in November, would be very welcome indeed. 

    Harry Kane celebrates during Tottenham's 3-2 victory away at West Ham back in November

    7. Thursday, June 25, 8.15pm - Chelsea vs Manchester City (Sky Sports)

    Manchester City find themselves in the odd position of being out of the title race already, but almost assured of a Champions League spot and second place.

    Guardiola will be frustrated that his side don't have more to play for, although fixtures like this one will give him a chance to assess his squad against an opponent who have made early moves in the transfer market.

    With Timo Werner looking set to join Hakim Ziyech at Stamford Bridge next season, Frank Lampard's players know they are under even more pressure to perform, particularly in the big games.

    This clash at Stamford Bridge definitely comes under that category, particularly as the Blues have a number of teams breathing down their neck in the race for fourth. 

    Sergio Aguero and Kurt Zouma battle for the ball during Chelsea's trip to the Etihad this season

    8. Thursday, June 25, 8.15pm - Wolves v Bournemouth (BT Sport)

    Bournemouth again, you say? Yes, and this time it's got nothing to do with the game being shown on the Beeb.

    While the title may be all but wrapped up, the race for European spots and the fight to avoid the drop is likely to provide the most drama in the remaining weeks.

    This fixture at Molineux, which will be shown live on BT Sport on a Thursday night, takes in both elements, with Wolves right in the hunt for the top four and the visitors facing a battle to maintain their top-flight status.

    Nuno Espirito Santo's men have quickly become one of the most impressive sides in the division after coming up in 2018, and they deserve a couple of hours of your time.

    Wolves' clash with Bournemouth could be crucial in the race for Europe and relegation scrap

    9. Tuesday, June 30, 8.15pm - Sheffield United v Tottenham (Sky Sports) 

    Another crucial game in the hunt for European football comes at Bramall Lane when this season's surprise package take on the Premier League's underachievers.

    Sheffield United have won plenty of admirers this term with their rock solid defence and Chris Wilder's no-nonsense approach, and they will fancy their chances of taking another scalp when Spurs visit under the floodlights.

    In contrast, Mourinho's men were wretched before lockdown began and there were plenty of signs that the Special One's initial impact had well and truly petered out.

    The two teams are currently separated by two points and one place in the table, although the Blades have a game in hand. 

    Sheffield United and Tottenham will have Europe on their minds when they meet on June 30

    10. Thursday, July 2, 8.15pm - Manchester City v Liverpool (Sky Sports)

    This game should've been a potential title-decider, a game that the whole world tuned into as some of the best players on the planet battled for top spot.

    That will no longer be the case, but it could yet be the game Liverpool finally seal the title if results extend the least competitive title race in recent memory for a few more games.

    If Klopp's men don't win the trophy against Everton, to do it at the Etihad, against the side who just pipped you last year, would surely be as sweet.

    And with the likes of Sergio Aguero, Sadio Mane, Kevin De Bruyne and Virgil van Dijk likely to be in action, it should be a pretty decent watch, too. 

    Manchester City vs Liverpool is worth a watch, although it's not as exciting as it should've been

    PROVISIONAL FIXTURE LIST 

    Wed June 17: Aston Villa vs Sheffield United (6pm – Sky Sports)

    Wed June 17: Manchester City vs Arsenal (8.15pm – Sky Sports)

    Fri June 19: Norwich vs Southampton (6pm – Sky Sports)

    Fri June 19: Tottenham vs Manchester United (8pm – Sky Sports)

    Sat June 20: Watford vs Leicester (12.30pm – BT Sport)

    Sat June 20: Brighton vs Arsenal (3pm – BT Sport)

    Sat June 20: West Ham vs Wolves (5.30pm – Sky Sports)

    Sat June 20: Bournemouth vs Crystal Palace (7.45pm – BBC)

    Sun June 21: Newcastle vs Sheffield United (2pm – Sky Sports)

    Sun June 21: Aston Villa vs Chelsea (4.30pm – Sky Sports)

    Sun June 21: Everton vs Liverpool (7pm – Sky Sports)

    Mon June 22: Manchester City vs Burnley (8pm – Sky Sports)

    Tue June 23: Southampton vs Arsenal (6pm – Sky Sports)

    Tue June 23: Tottenham vs West Ham (8.15pm – Sky Sports)

    Wed June 24: Manchester United vs Sheffield United (6pm – Sky Sports)

    Wed June 24: Newcastle vs Aston Villa (6pm – BT Sport)

    Wed June 24: Norwich vs Everton (6pm – BBC)

    Wed June 24: Liverpool vs Crystal Palace (8.15pm – Sky Sports)

    Thu June 25: Burnley vs Watford (6pm – Sky Sports)

    Thu June 25: Leicester vs Brighton (6pm – Sky Sports)

    Thu June 25: Chelsea vs Manchester City (8.15pm – Sky Sports)

    Thu June 25: Wolves vs Bournemouth (8.15pm – BT Sport)

    Sun June 28: Aston Villa vs Wolves (12pm – BT Sport)

    Sun June 28: Watford vs Southampton (4.30pm – Sky Sports)

    Mon June 29: Crystal Palace vs Burnley (8pm – Amazon)

    Tue June 30: Brighton vs Manchester United (6pm – Sky Sports)

    Tue June 30: Sheffield United vs Tottenham (8.15pm – Sky Sports)

    Wed July 1: Bournemouth vs Newcastle (6pm – Sky Sports)

    Wed July 1: Everton vs Leicester (6pm – Sky Sports)

    Wed July 1: West Ham vs Chelsea (8.15pm – Sky Sports)

    Thu July 2: Arsenal vs Norwich (6pm – BT Sport)

    Thu July 2: Manchester City vs Liverpool (8.15pm – Sky Sports)

    Advertisement Advertisement References :
  • Joe Strange for MailOnline (www.dailymail.co.uk)
  • Premier League (www.dailymail.co.uk)
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