Date: 15th February 2018 at 9:44am
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Leicester City manager Claude Puel has questioned the timing of Manchester City’s approach for Riyad Mahrez as the January transfer window came to a close.

With a ten day exile where Mahrez stayed away from the club and many folks no nearer knowing whether or not he actually had permission, this week has seen Puel face questions again about the whole affair and how disruptive it was for us given the Algerian is now back fully in training and has made his apologies to the players.

Speaking to the Leicester Merucry, Puel explained that he felt the timing of their approach showed a lack of respect for Leicester as a club.

The first approach apparently came in with only 48 hours remaining in the window.

‘We tried to protect the squad and all parts of the club. That was the most important thing at the beginning. We had some solicitation for another club – just to make an approach just one or two days before the end of the transfer window, I don`t know if it`s normal. I cannot suffer this situation because other teams make this thing against us.’

Puel went on to say that even had Manchester City agreed to meet our valuation of the player, letting him go would still have caused issues given the lack of available time to replace him – although many fans would think Demarai Gray and Fousseni Diabate could’ve admirably filled in between them and taken their opportunity to step up further.

‘Some teams can have a lot of possibility to replace some players, they have a different situation to manage. We don`t have a lot of players with the same quality as Riyad. For some other teams, it`s not a difficulty to replace their players. For me, it`s important. We are not a squad like some great teams at the top of the table. We needed to manage better, and we need also perhaps some more respect from some teams. It was important to stay united within the club, the fans, and the players, among themselves. We succeeded to keep a good unity within the team. It was a situation we are putting behind us.’

Puel did confirm that Mahrez had sat down with the players on his return to explain and talk things through, but obviously that would stay within the dressing room.

‘It was important Riyad gave his feeling in the dressing room, but the details will remain inside the club. They welcomed him with a good feeling, now it`s important to move on. It was important to get some explanation for his team-mates and he staff. All is okay to move on and look forwards. Riyad has a positive attitude, he is training better. And we will see this in his game, he needs to kick on like the team. He always made good performances but he is enjoying to train, it`s a pleasure when he gets to touch the ball.’

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