Mahrez the bright spark in City's youthful side

Pep Guardiola has less first-team players for Manchester City pre-season tour. – AFP

Pep Guardiola has less first-team players for Manchester City pre-season tour. – AFP

However, having only played a handful of games between them last season, they could be set for loan spells to gain experience.

Pep Guardiola fears his preparations for Manchester City's Premier League title defense have been affected by the World Cup.

Pep Guardiola admitted he was anxious about some of the strong tackles in Manchester City's first game of preseason, a 1-0 defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the International Champions Cup.

Joe Hart, the former England keeper, made his first City appearance since August 2016 in the second half, but it was opposite number Hitz who was nearly beaten on 55 minutes when another Mahrez set-piece flew just wide. "I'm older and being who I am and what I am, I'm there to be shot at." he added.

The Blues fell to defeat in the International Champions Cup at Soldier Field in Chicago, courtesy of Mario Gotze's first-half penalty, as the Premier League Champions bloodied a youthful XI with the majority of the senior squad on holiday after their World Cup exploits.

"I'm happy that we won and happy to play against my old club". I'm open, but I want to do what's right for me at this point of my career.

"There's no league that I'd say no to".

Hart, who has 75 caps and had been first choice since 2010, was proud of England's run to the semifinals but admitted it was tough not to be involved.

Mahrez started his first game in an orthodox wide position but struggled to make much of an impact in 20 minutes surrounded by unfamiliar players, many in unfamiliar positions. "We had one week of training and I am so satisfied in the performance from these guys". "I've got a lot of good relationships with the boys in the team and it was nice to see them do well".

Guardiola was forced to pick a mixed team that included youngsters and a number of players that spent last season out on loan including Joe Hart, Jason Denayer and Patrick Roberts. I'm professional and I get on with things.

"My job is to play football. We prefer to win the game but we know what is going to happen in pre-season".

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