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Mahrez looking better than ever, says Puel

SoccerNews in FA Cup 14 Feb 2018

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Riyad Mahrez has found a new level since ending his Leicester City exile, according to manager Claude Puel.

Mahrez was heavily linked with a deadline-day switch to Manchester City after an impressive start to the 2017-18 campaign, scoring eight and creating seven in the Premier League.

The reported £60million deal was rebuffed by the Foxes, a decision that saw Mahrez miss a number of training sessions and two league matches.

He eventually returned to the squad for Leicester’s trip to Manchester City on Saturday, a game Puel’s men lost 5-1, with Mahrez coming off the bench after 62 minutes.

He could make his first start since January 20 in the FA Cup against Sheffield United this weekend, with Puel saying the 26-year-old looks better than ever.

“Yeah, I think better,” the Frenchman said when asked if Mahrez was back to his normal level.

“He enjoys playing and training with his team-mates. He is at a good level and without problems.

“I think it is important now to put an end to the talking about Riyad. He has come back, he came in against Manchester City. Now we need to move on and for him, he has to kick on.

“The most important thing now is the future.”

And Puel is confident Mahrez will not face a backlash from Leicester’s fans despite openly wanting to leave the King Power Stadium in January.

“I think it was good reception when he came on against Man City,” Puel added. “I think the fans understand the difficulties to manage this period.

“We have stayed united. It is important now, together, to look forward.”

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