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Leicester City boss Claude Puel hits out at ‘disrespectful’ Man City over Riyad Mahrez bid

CLAUDE PUEL has accused Manchester City of showing a lack of respect in their “solicitation” of Riyad Mahrez.

The Foxes manager aimed a swipe at the Premier League leaders over their last-minute pursuit of Mahrez in the January transfer window.

Puel claimed the late bid was not “normal” and was tough for Leicester to “suffer”.

Pep Guardiola’s side made their first bid for Mahrez around 48 hours before the deadline, and Leicester’s refusal to sell prompted a 10-day stand-off between them and the midfielder.

Now Puel has criticised Manchester City for the first time over the timing of their £65m bid.

“We don’t have a lot of players with the game quality of Riyad,” said Puel. “For some other teams, it’s not a difficulty to replace their players.

“For me, it’s important. 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 others’ respect.”

Champions-elect City offered Leicester City a £65m package for Mahrez, including £15m-rated winger Patrick Roberts, but negotiations collapsed when the Foxes held out for an £80m cash deal.

“We had some solicitation from another club,” said Puel. “To make solicitation 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.

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“It was important to stay united within the club, the fans, the players, among themselves. We succeeded to keep united within the team.”

Mahrez made a shock return to training last Friday after skipping work for 10 days and missing two Premier League games. He could make his first start since the saga in Friday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie against Sheffield United.

And Puel says the Algerian has been accepted back by his team-mates after addressing them about his absence.

“It was a situation behind us. It was important Riyad gave his feeling in the dressing room, but the details will remain inside the club,” said Puel.

“They welcomed him with a good feeling, now it’s important to move on.

“He travelled with the squad [last weekend]. It was important for me and for the player, to stop the last situation.”

Source: www.express.co.uk

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