‘Champions League music woke Mahrez up’

15 Sep

Riyad Mahrez

Prior to Mahrez, the last player to score a direct free-kick and a penalty in the same Champions League game was Robin van Persie for Man United v Olympiakos in March 2014

Claudio Ranieri said “the Champions League music woke up” Riyad Mahrez, who scored twice as Leicester beat Club Brugge 3-0 on their competition debut.

“It was good because he scored twice, including a fantastic free-kick, and he worked so hard,” the Foxes boss said.

“Maybe he is tired of hearing dilly ding dilly dong all the time,” the Italian added of Mahrez, who scored Leicester’s third with a penalty.

“Now we have to stay calm and put our mind to the next match on Saturday.”

Mahrez had scored once in four Premier League appearances before Wednesday’s European tie.

“Dilly ding dilly dong” is how Ranieri described the imaginary bell he would shake when he thought players were “sleeping” last season – before they stunned the football world by claiming the Premier League title.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live after his side’s first Group C match, the Italian added: “With Rostov [of Russia] we are the only two teams who have never played in the Champions League before.

“For us it is very tough to play against teams with very good experience, like Brugge, FC Porto and FC Copenhagen.

“It’s not easy but it’s OK. We started well, and that gives us confidence.”

Foxes winger Marc Albrighton got the opener against Belgian champions Brugge on Wednesday and said scoring his club’s first ever Champions League goal was “just how I’d seen it in my dreams”.

“To score the goal was an unbelievable feeling,” the 26-year-old added on BT Sport.

‘Special’ Aguero helps Pep to key win

Sergio Aguero and Pep Guardiola<!–

Sergio Aguero now has nine goals already this season, including two hat-tricks

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola described his side’s dominant 4-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach as “the most important game of the season to now”.

City – who have seven wins from seven this season – had 23 shots at goal against the Bundesliga side.

“Considering the opponent, the pressure that we had, we played really, really good,” added Guardiola, who watched on as Sergio Aguero scored the second-hat-trick of this campaign.

Guardiola, who has worked with strikers such as Lionel Messi, Samuel Eto’o, David Villa and Robert Lewandowski, said Aguero was “one of the best” when asked how the Argentine ranked out of those he has coached.

“He has a special quality in the box,” added the Spaniard. “He’s a special player.”

City, second in Group C behind Barcelona – who beat Celtic 7-0 on Tuesday – on goal difference, also handed a debut to Ilkay Gundogan following his recovery from injury.

“After three or four months out injured, he played with such intelligence,” said Guardiola. “He is an amazing player. He was dribbling, he arrived in the box at the right moment at the right tempo, we are so happy to have him here.”

Spurs need more aggression – Pochettino

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Spurs lacked passion – Pochettino

Tottenham’s Champions League campaign began disappointingly as they slumped to a 2-1 defeat against AS Monaco before an English record for a home crowd of 85,011 at Wembley.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino blamed his team’s defensive frailties for the loss, with their first-half sloppiness allowing Bernardo Silva and Thomas Lemar to score the goals which put the Ligue 1 side in control.

“We conceded a goal after 16 minutes that, at this level, you cannot concede,” said the Argentine.

“We conceded the second in the same circumstances as the first. We improved in the second half and had chances to win the game but after conceding the first they started to play comfortably with the ball and with calmness.

“They had only two shots on target and scored twice. We feel very disappointed with the result.

“It is true that we had more chances. We were better than Monaco but they were more effective. It is not new. We need to win games, we need to be more aggressive with the ball.”


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