Leicester will help to ensure Riyad Mahrez returns with a smile after City saga, says Claude Puel

Leicester City boss Claude Puel says the club will work to help Riyad Mahrez return to the first-team fold "with a smile" after a proposed move to Manchester City fell through on deadline day.

Leicester will help to ensure Riyad Mahrez returns with a smile after City saga, says Claude Puel
(Picture: Getty Images - Mark Robinson)

Leicester City will work together to ensure that Riyad Mahrez returns "with a smile" after his proposed deadline day move to Manchester City fell through according to Claude Puel

The Foxes were without the Algerian winger for their defeat at Everton with Theo Walcott's first-half double ending Leicester's unbeaten run despite Jamie Vardy netting a penalty. 

City had been keen on sealing a deal for the former PFA Player of the Year but had three bids rejected and refused to meet Leicester's asking price, reported to be as much as £95 million.

Puel empathised with Mahrez's frustrations - with the winger's close friend having told Sky Sports News that he is "very depressed" about the situation - and hopes to have the 26-year-old back in high spirits as soon as possible.

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"We have to understand all the parts"

"We will see. Just for the moment, I finish the game and as normal I'm focusing on this game. I will take all the information and we will see," Puel said when asked about when Mahrez will return.

"We know the situation, we can understand his reaction. It's a difficult situation for him and for the club.

"We received at the last moment something about City. I think it was harsh for us and difficult also for Riyad. We have to understand all the parts.

"For me, for the squad, for the player, we will accept all of the decisions. It was a decision between the two clubs. Of course, I have confidence about the owner to take a good decision about Riyad for the future.

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

"He's a good player, a good man and he likes football. Of course for the moment I didn't speak with Riyad but in the morning perhaps, a lot of disappointment."

 

Puel reveals Mahrez may find it "difficult" reintegrating into first team

Puel suggested that City's interest in Mahrez originated due to Leroy Sané's ankle ligament injury sustained at the weekend, a problem that will sideline him for approximately six to seven weeks.

He continued: "I think it's difficult because the first reaction with Riyad was because of injury of their player. It was just at the end of this transfer window and it was difficult to accept.

"But I was ready to accept all decisions. We will can see when we can manage this for the future. 

"I think the players they know it will be difficult sometimes for Riyad. We have a fantastic group and a fantastic squad.

"All the players have a fantastic relationship and fantastic understanding between themselves. All the players will give their best for Riyad."

While 17-year-old midfielder Callum Wright joined from Blackburn Rovers to go into the club's youth team, Leicester allowed Islam Slimani to leave for Newcastle United and Andy King to join Swansea City.

On sanctioning their temporary departures, Puel said: "It was important for us for some players to try to have more game time. They like to play and to have good opportunities to show their quality.

"I think we have a strong squad with a lot of players and we think these players can find good opportunities to play it's a good thing for them."