Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez has spoken for the first time since his failed Manchester City switch and has admitted he needed time to think.
The 27-year-old put in a transfer request in January shortly before City had a £60million plus Patrick Roberts offer. But the proposed transfer collapsed after the Foxes slapped an £80million price tag on Riyad’s head, rejecting City’s numerous bids.
Afterwards the Algerian winger went absent from training for over a week and missed two of Leicester’s Premier League fixtures, before returning and featuring in their last four matches, most recently salvaging a point for the Foxes with a late equalising free-kick against Bournemouth.
“I was away from here because I needed some time to think, it was a difficult situation,” Mahrez told Sky Sports News.
“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.
“You’ll always have regrets but at that time I thought it was the best thing to do.
“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 OK, it was very easy to come back here.”
Mahrez regretted his handling of the situation but insists he faced no hostility from his team-mates or club figures following the failed move to City and is now firmly back in the Leicester fold.
Mahrez also brushed off the hoax retirement announcement posted on his social media account this week.
He said: “I wasn’t bothered. It won’t affect me, so I don’t know why they try to do that. I think everyone knew it had been hacked.”