Leicester City manager Claude Puel believes Riyad Mahrez made a mistake when he decided to go AWOL after his desired move to Manchester City didn’t materialise.
Pep Guardiola’s team came in for the Algerian with a £60m bid, which led to Mahrez handing in a transfer request on the penultimate day of the January transfer window as he aimed to force the move.
However, the Foxes rejected the bid to the disappointment of Mahrez, who went absent for two Premier League games, before making his return against Manchester City in the 5-1 defeat at the weekend.
“I think since the beginning of the situation it was tough to manage, but all the time we kept united about this situation and about Riyad,” Puel was quoted by the Leicester Mercury.
“That was the most important thing. Sometimes some players can make a mistake. It was the first time for him and it was a mistake but the most important thing is to look forward and put it right.
“He is fantastic player for us, his team-mates and the fans. It is a pleasure to watch him… It is important we continue together.”
Mahrez himself has denied going AWOL after being denied a move to Man City.
“Over the past 10 days many people claiming to be my friend have spoken about me and things they know nothing about,” he said in a statement carried by the Leicester Mercury.
“Off the back of that many people and journalists have made assumptions without properly checking the story, so I would like to clarify that all those so-called assumptions of why I was absent are completely untrue.
“Myself nor my advisors have ever made any statements about that so all presumptions made are totally without foundation. Leicester City were always aware of my whereabouts and had knowledge of my thinking either directly or via my advisors.”