Belfast Telegraph

Puel keen for Mahrez to resolve future after masterclass for Foxes

Leicester City 3 Huddersfield 0

By Nick Mashiter

Leicester boss Claude Puel will speak to Riyad Mahrez about his future after the winger starred in the Foxes’ win over Huddersfield.

The Algeria international’s fine volley inspired a second-half improvement before Islam Slimani and Marc Albrighton wrapped up a 3-0 New Year’s Day victory.

Mahrez has now been involved in 10 goals — scoring six — in Puel’s 13 league games in charge.

He handed in a transfer request in the summer, while Leicester rejected bids from Roma, and the boss is keen for him to stay at the Foxes.

He said: “I like this player and I’d like to keep our best players. We will ask him the question, for me I’m happy to play with the team with Riyad, with Jamie (Vardy) and others.

“I would like to keep all my best players. It was a very good game for Riyad.”

Mahrez’s Algeria team-mate Slimani scored his first Premier League goal since April in just his second league start this season to earn the praise of Puel.

He said: “He kept a positive attitude in the training session and he got his reward to score. But also to play good football. It was amazing to see him at this level and with this quality and positive outlook.”

Adrien Silva also made his delayed debut after the club missed the registration deadline by 14 seconds during his £22million summer switch from Sporting Lisbon.

Leicester lost Wes Morgan to a first-half hamstring injury and are also likely to be without Vardy for at least a week.

Puel added: “It’s a bad injury, a hamstring injury, Wes slipped on the pitch.”

Huddersfield have now won just twice in their last 11 outings but still have a six-point cushion above the bottom three.

They offered little yesterday but boss David Wagner felt the first goal was crucial.

He said: “Absolutely, this was the case, and unfortunately we didn’t score the first one. The first half was even.

“Even we know, after 22 games in the Premier League, the small margins decide the game.

“Unfortunately we weren’t able to use the margins in our favour,” he said.

LEICESTER: Schmeichel, Amartey, Morgan (Dragovic, 28 mins), Maguire, Fuchs, Mahrez (Gray, 77 mins), Ndidi, James (Adrien Silva, 86 mins), Albrighton, Okazaki, Slimani. Unused subs: Iheanacho, Hamer, Iborra, Ulloa.

Huddersfield: Lossl, Smith (Depoitre, 82 mins), Jorgensen, Schindler, Lowe (Malone, 76 mins), Mooy, Williams, Lolley (Quaner, 59 mins), Ince, van La Parra, Mounie. Unused subs: Hogg, Coleman, Cranie, Hadergjonaj.

Referee: Graham Scott

Man of the match: Riyad Mahrez

Match rating: 7/10

Belfast Telegraph

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