Riyad Mahrez will not be selected to face Manchester City following his continued absence from training, says Leicester boss Claude Puel.
Mahrez has refused to return to training with Leicester since the end of the January transfer window after failing to push through a move to City, who offered a £60m cash-plus-player deal for the Algerian winger.
Puel has confirmed Mahrez will not feature against the Premier League leaders when Leicester visit the Etihad on Saturday, live on Sky Sports Premier League.
I think Riyad will be not available for the Saturday game against Manchester City, said Puel. I hope he can get his head right and come back with us and work hard. The best way is to come back and enjoy his football.
Riyad is a magnificent player. He loves football, he loves his relationship with his team-mates, he enjoys his football. I think he needs to come back, to play and touch the ball.
He loves his football, it is important he comes back.
Puel has been pleased with his squad’s professional attitude in training amid the ongoing saga with Mahrez.
I was impressed in my training session with the quality we can put on the pitch, Puel added. It is a good feeling, the players have kept their focus about the next games.
We know it’s a difficult situation but we needed to look forward and to continue this hard work. The squad has good quality, strength and when I saw their attitude in training, they have taken their responsibilities.
Leicester travel to face a City side who are 13 points ahead of their nearest rivals – Manchester United – at the top of the Premier League, despite a 1-1 draw with Burnley last time out.
The Foxes suffered a 2-0 defeat to City in the reverse fixture in November and were also knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Pep Guardiola’s side at the King Power Stadium in December.
However, Puel believes his team are capable of causing an upset at the Etihad.
It is a good challenge. A fantastic and exciting challenge. We have no pressure against this team, they are the favourites, said the Frenchman.
It is a good challenge to play our football. Of course it is difficult against this team. To show if we have improved from our last game against this team.
In the Premier League game against them it was difficult, the sending off after three minutes changed the game. The second round in the cup was a good game until the lottery of penalties. It was a good response.
Now, away, we can show our progress against this team.