Tuesday Jun 25, 2019. 12:14
Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi says his team cannot afford to put all of their pressure and expectation on star player Riyad Mahrez.
The Manchester City winger enjoyed a fine start to the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations this past weekend, scoring the second goal in Algeria’s 2-0 win over Group C rivals Kenya in Cairo on Sunday night.
However, Belmadi insists that the Fennec Foxes need to share collective responsibility for their performances rather than focus on individuals.
The North Africans will face a huge test of their title credentials when they face one of the tournament favourites, Senegal, on Thursday evening.
“I do not like highlighting players. We need to put a little less focus on Mahrez if we want to make this a big tournament for us,” said the Algeria coach.
“It means a lot to win the first match in any competition. We used to start poorly, it was always difficult for us to start well at the Africa Cup.
“In our history, most of the time, we often lost the first match, so this is also a message to the players that we can go far.
“We expect a tough match against Senegal, the tournament favourite. It’s a challenge we have to take on."