Leicester City's Kelechi Iheanacho (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game with team-mate Riyad Mahrez
Sunday Feb 04, 2018. 10:30
Despite his failure to leave Leicester City and join Manchester City, Leicester manager Claude Puel believes his players will welcome Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez with open arms.
Puel believes Mahrez will be welcomed back by his team-mates despite his failed bid to join the Citizens during the January transfer window.
Mahrez handed in a transfer request in a bid to push through a move to the Eithad Stadium on deadline day, and has not reported for training with the Foxes since the end of the January window.
According to Sky Sports, the player has been left depressed by Leicester's decision not to accept City's final player-plus-cash offer worth an estimated £65m.
Puel insists it is only a matter of time before Mahrez, who still has two-and-a-half years left on his contract at the King Power Stadium, returns to training and begins to enjoy his football again.
"After some time, he will come back with us. He is our friend and I think all the staff and all the players will help him to come back with a good mentality and a positive attitude and to enjoy his football with his team-mates,” said the French coach.
"Riyad is a good player but he is a good man also. I respect him. It's important to manage this with calm inside the club.
"We have a good relationship. (On Friday morning) I have seen my players with a good focus and with smiles and enjoying their training session. I hope there is a good solution.
"All the staff, especially all the squad, they are his friends. Of course, no problem when he will come back with us, with a good feeling for all the people."