Riyad Mahrez was delighted with the way Manchester City effectively countered against Paris Saint-Germain, although he suggested this was not their aim in their Champions League semi-final victory.
City reached the final of Europe’s elite club competition for the first time with a 2-0 second-leg win that clinched a 4-1 aggregate triumph.
Mahrez had hit the winner in Paris and added both goals at the Etihad Stadium, where the pitch was covered in hail following a pre-match shower.
His first came following a long pass from Ederson – “It’s something we work at all the time,” Mahrez said – before Phil Foden led a stunning break for the second.
City were sloppy in possession in the opening stages but defended doggedly and soon found space in attack as PSG pressed forward.
“I don’t think it was the game plan, but obviously they had to come at us,” Mahrez told BT Sport.
“Sometimes, we were a bit deeper, they lose the ball and we are good at the counter as well. That’s how the two goals were. We are happy.”
2 – Riyad Mahrez is only the second player to score in both legs of a Champions League semi-final tie for an English club after Sadio Mané in 2017-18. Valuable.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 4, 2021
As well as his two goals, Mahrez weighed in with a tackle, two clearances and a block. All 10 outfield starters contributed at least one clearance for City.
“When you play the semi-final of the Champions League, you have to be solid, everybody has to defend, everyone has to contribute defensively,” Mahrez added.
“That’s what we did. We were very solid today, didn’t concede much, and that is why we’re in the final.”
PSG ended with 10 men after Angel Di Maria was dismissed for stamping on Fernandinho, one of many late incidents as the visitors lost their discipline.
The Ligue 1 giants only conceded 12 fouls but earned five cards and might have got off lightly.
Reflecting on the match, Mahrez said: “It was a very good game. We didn’t start good again. 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 very good; 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 it was more comfortable for us.”