Riyad Mahrez performing even better than before Man City transfer saga, says Claude Puel

Claude Puel has been impressed with Riyad Mahrez in training

Leicester manager Claude Puel believes Riyad Mahrez has become a better player following his self-imposed exile from the squad.

Mahrez refused to train in the immediate aftermath of his failed Deadline Day bid to join Manchester City, although he returned last Friday and came on as a second-half substitute in the 5-1 defeat by City at the Etihad on Saturday.

Puel has drawn a line under the affair, insisting Mahrez is happy to move forward with Leicester, and says the winger is now performing better than ever in training.

When asked if he believed Mahrez was back to his normal level, Puel said: “Yeah, I think better. 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.

Shay Given believes Riyad Mahrez could still get his move to Manchester City this summer and the matter may not be resolved just yet.

“The most important thing now is the future.”

Leicester host Sheffield United in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Friday and Puel insists he will play a strong side against the Blades, who are currently eighth in the Sky Bet Championship.

“It will be a crucial game for us,” said the Frenchman. “I will pick a team to win the game, we want to get as far as we can in the FA Cup, of course. It will be a strong team like in the last rounds.”

Puel also confirmed club captain Wes Morgan could feature against the Blades after recovering from a hamstring problem.

“[Shinji] Okazaki will not be available, it is too early. Morgan can perhaps come back into the squad,” said Puel.