Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez: I know we can react to Watford defeat against Club Brugge

Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez: I know we can react to Watford defeat against Club Brugge

Leicester City winger Riyad Mahrez is confident in the ability of himself and his teammates to respond to the weekend's Premier League defeat to Watford as they face Club Brugge in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Charlie Malam

Riyad Mahrez is confident that Leicester City can produce a reaction to their disappointing league form as they take on Club Brugge hoping to book their place in the last-16 of the Champions League.

The winger and his teammates require just a single point on Tuesday night to progress to the next round, while bettering the result of second-placed Porto would make sure of top spot in Group G.

Reaching the next round in Europe would provide a timely boost, with the Foxes entering their clash with Brugge at the King Power Stadium off the back of consecutive defeats in the Premier League.

Claudio Ranieri's side have lost six of their 12 league games, having only lost three last term as they were crowned champions of England, and have won as many games in the Champions League as they have domestically.

Leicester remain unbeaten thus far and have yet to even concede a goal in their first four European games, and Mahrez is hopeful that kind of form can be translated into their form in the league in order to rid themselves of any trouble.

We will win games if we keep on working hard, says winger

The 25-year-old admitted: "Maybe there is a little bit of frustration in the Premier League. Two weeks ago against West Brom, we had to win because we didn't in the previous game [against Kobenhavn] and we lost 2-1."

He admitted that their frustration stems from not necessarily playing badly, but said it comes from "losing the game."

But the Algeria international vowed that he is "confident" in the ability of he and his teammates to turn things around, insisting: "We have a very good team and a very good squad and I know we can react."

Asked about whether this year is increasingly difficult because they have the tag of champions, Mahrez said that "last season was last season" and that "champions or not champions it's another season."

He admitted that other teams are "more hungry" and that "everybody wants to win now" and especially that "everyone wants to beat Leicester."

"We know we just have to keep going and we will win games," continued Mahrez, who also insisted he doesn't "want to think" about the possibility of relegation despite their poor form.

He said: "You never know in football but I don’t want to think about that. I know we have good quality to stay in the Premier League and maybe more."

Mahrez, who signed a new contract at Leicester only in August, believes that nothing is particularly wrong as he said that "sometimes in football you can play good and lose."

He said that if they "keep working hard like we do" then he's sure they will "get the wins", also explaining: "I think when we get the wins in the Premier League, everyone will be better." 

Mahrez says Leicester must not look past Brugge clash

Three of Mahrez's five goals this season have come in the Champions League, where Leicester have fared significantly better despite manager Ranieri's insistence that performances in the league and in Europe have been of a similar quality.

But Mahrez says he and the Leicester squad as a whole will refuse to get ahead of themselves with potential thoughts of topping the group and what that could mean as to who they face in the next round.

He insisted that they "just have to focus on tomorrow", which he labelled a "very, very important game" and said: "We have to focus on tomorrow. After that, we will see."

Despite having yet to hit the heights of last season, last season's PFA Player of the Year Mahrez was included on the 30-man shortlist for the prestigious FIFA Ballon d'Or award last month.

He added: "I was happy [to be nominated] but I don’t think too much about that. Obviously you’re happy to be the best player in the Premier League but that was as well because of the team.

"I just play my football. Obviously this season is more difficult for us but like I said, we believe we’re going to get more wins and of course, I will be better and the team will be better."