Riyad Mahrez made a mistake with self-imposed exile, says Leicester boss Claude Puel
Last Updated: 12/02/18 10:31am
Leicester boss Claude Puel has described Riyad Mahrez's self-imposed exile from the club after a Deadline Day move to Manchester City failed to materialise as a "mistake".
The winger, subject of a £60m offer from Pep Guardiola's side, returned to training on Friday for the first time since he handed in a transfer request on the penultimate day of the January transfer window.
Mahrez, missed two league fixtures during his absence, but the Algeria international made his return for the Foxes in Saturday's 5-1 defeat to the league leaders at the Etihad.
"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."
The 26-year-old released a statement which described assumptions about his absence as "completely untrue" and said his club were always aware of his whereabouts.
"Over the past 10 days, many people claiming to be my friend have spoken about me and things they know nothing about," read the statement.
"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 advisers 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 advisers.
"I have been a part of the Leicester City team that has achieved much success including promotion to the Premier League and being champions of the league.
"My goals have always been the same and I have always given my full 100 per cent when I play for the club, the fans, and my team-mates.
"Those goals remain the same today and in the future and, when I am asked to be a part of the Leicester team, rest assured I will continue to give my all."
Mahrez could make his first start since January 20 when Leicester face Sheffield United in the FA Cup fifth round on Friday, with the club's next Premier League match against Stoke on February 24.
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