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'Disappointed' Mahrez will be welcomed back – Puel

Omnisport
NEWS
700   //    01 Feb 2018, 05:18 IST
Mahrez - cropped
Riyad Mahrez and Claude Puel

Riyad Mahrez was left disappointed by the collapse of his proposed move to Manchester City, but Leicester City manager Claude Puel hopes the attacker is happy to return soon.

The Algeria international was heavily linked with a move to Pep Guardiola's Premier League leaders, but that deal failed to materialise on deadline day.

Speaking after his side were beaten 2-1 at Everton on Wednesday, Puel was glad to hold onto Mahrez, but admitted he was unsure how the 26-year-old would feel when he comes back into the fold.

"We will see. Just at the moment I have finished the game. All my focus is on this game," he said.

"I will take all the information and we'll see with Riyad. We know the situation. We can understand. It's a reaction.

"It's a difficult situation for him and for the club. We received at the last moment something about City.

"It was harsh for us. It was difficult for Riyad. We have to understand all the parts for me, for the squad, for the player.

"We will accept the decision. It was a deal between the two clubs but, of course, I have all confidence in the owner to take a good decision about Riyad for the future.

"We will see with Riyad when he can come back with us and all the players and the staff will help him to come back with a smile and to enjoy his football with his team-mates.

"It's a great player, fantastic, a good man and he likes football. For this month I did not speak with [Riyad] about transfers but normally, a lot of disappointment."

Despite the loss at Goodison Park, Leicester are eighth in the table and keeping Mahrez will provide a further boost if he feels able to produce his best form.

Puel, who was unwilling to use Mahrez's absence as an excuse for the defeat, said he was content to accept whatever decision the club made about the 2015-16 PFA Players' Player of the Year.

"I think it is difficult because the first relation with Riyad was, I think, before the injury of their player [Leroy Sane]," he said.

"It was just at the end of this transfer window and it was difficult to accept.

"From our part, I was ready to accept all decisions at the end. We will see what we can manage from the future from this."

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