Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez regrets reactions to failed City move

Riyad Mahrez admits that he regrets his reactions after seeing his potential move to Manchester City fall through in the January transfer window.

Mahrez, 26, was absent for two Leicester City matches after missing out on a move to join the ranks of the Premier League leaders, who reportedly made a £60 million offer on deadline day two months ago.

However, the Algeria international denied he had been on strike after the disappointment of the failed move, but concedes he should have handled the situation better when he took a leave of absence from the Leicester squad.

“I was away from here because I needed some time to think, it was a difficult situation,” he said. “You’ll always have regrets but at that time I thought it was the best thing to do.”

“Manchester City is a good move for everyone but it is the past. It is behind me. If we start talking about this it’s like coming back to the transfer window and now I’m moving forward, trying to give my best for the team.”

Following his leave, Mahrez returned to action in Leicester’s 5-1 defeat to Pep Guardiola’s side on February 10 and has played in all three matches since, including the 1-1 draw with Bournemouth last Saturday, in which he scored a dramatic late free-kick to help his team steal a point.

He also added that he was grateful to his teammates who had stood by him when he returned.

“I spoke with the players, I spoke with the manager, I spoke with everyone. Everyone was OK, was good.”

“It was difficult, I’ve always been in contact with the club. The club handled it very well. When the team-mates and the club were behind me it was okay, it was very easy to come back here.”

On Wednesday, Leicester were forced to deny Mahrez had retired after hackers posted a message announcing he was quitting football on his Facebook page.

“I wasn’t bothered,” the player said about the case. “It won’t affect me, so I don’t know why they try to do that. I think everyone knew it had been hacked.”

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