Foxes boss Claude Puel speaks out over Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez approach
The Frenchman believes the Foxes deserved to be shown some respect from the Premier League leaders.
The midfielder was back in the Foxes squad last weekend against City after a self-imposed 10-day absence from the club following the breakdown of a proposed move to the Etihad Stadium.
The Premier League leaders failed to match Leicester’s valuation of the player, understood to be near the £80million mark, and talks collapsed on the final day of the January transfer window, with Mahrez having submitted a transfer request.
“We had some solicitation of another club, and to make solicitation just one or two days before the end of the transfer window, I don’t know if it’s normal,” said the Leicester boss.
“I cannot suffer this situation because other teams make this thing against us. It was important to stay united within the club, the fans, the players.
“We don’t have a lot of players with the same quality like Riyad. For some other teams, it is not a difficulty to replace their players.
“We’re not a squad like some great teams at the top of the table. We need to manage better and we need also perhaps some respect from others.”
Mahrez may start Friday night’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Sheffield United, with Puel vowing to pick a strong team against the Championship side.
“Of course it will be a crucial game for us and I will pick a team to win,” he said.
“We want to get as far as we can in the cup and it will be a strong team, like the last was.
“The game against Sheffield United will be tough, they are a good team. It is important to respect any opponent, to see the final you have to play and expect any opponent to be strong.”
Captain Wes Morgan could make his return from injury. The central defender has been out since suffering a hamstring problem on New Year’s Day but he may be back in the squad against the Blades.
Shinji Okazaki is still struggling with the knee problem that saw him miss the Premier League trip to Manchester City and the striker will remain on the sidelines.