Pep Guardiola has insisted Manchester City are not to blame for Riyad Mahrez’s absence from Leicester City training.
City attempted to sign Mahrez late in the January window but, even though Mahrez submitted a transfer request, Leicester refused to sell him to the Premier League leaders.
Mahrez only returned to training on Friday for the first time since the window closed, but when asked if City felt responsible for Mahrez’s absence, Guardiola said: “I don’t think so.
Man City vs Leicester
February 10, 2018, 5:15pm
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“Leicester came to pick up Kelechi (Iheanacho, who signed for Leicester from City in the summer), so we did it. In other transfers, clubs call the clubs and it’s simple like that.
“After that we are not involved in anything. It’s a decision for the player and the club, not for Manchester City.”
Mahrez released a statement on Friday in which he explained his absence from Leicester training.
The 26-year-old said: “I would like to clarify that all those so-called assumptions of why I was absent are completely untrue.
“Leicester City were always aware of my whereabouts and had knowledge of my thinking either directly or via my advisers.
“When I am asked to be a part of the Leicester team, rest assured I will continue to give my all.”
Mahrez could make his Leicester comeback against Manchester City on Saturday – live on Sky Sports – and ahead of that game, Guardiola heaped praise on his goalkeeper Ederson.
The Brazilian has excelled since joining from Benfica in the summer, with his distribution particularly impressing.
Guardiola said: “He’s one of the top [goalkeepers]. With that age, if he has the desire he can improve to become an extraordinary goalkeeper.
“The most important thing from my point of view is he is so calm. When he concedes a goal he is quiet. If he makes an extraordinary save, he is quiet. His reaction is the same, he’s just stable.
“But he is still young and has to improve a lot of things. He’s already for me one of the best in the world.”