Guardiola defends Man City’s Mahrez pursuit

Pep Guardiola has defended Manchester City following complaints from Leicester manager Claude Puel over their pursuit of Riyad Mahrez.

Puel criticised City this week, claiming the wealthy Premier League leaders had shown his side a lack of respect as they tried to push through a dramatic bid for the winger in last month’s transfer window.

French boss Puel was angered, particularly, by what he saw as City leaving it until the last moment to show their hand, unsettling a player who then declined to show up for training with Leicester for 10 days.

City’s response was a briefing in which they claimed to have acted above board and to have been openly negotiating with their rivals for a week before the window closed.

And while Manchester City manager Guardiola did not want to be dragged into the controversy, he defended his club’s behaviour.

“The club made a statement and always tries to do the best for us, and of course respecting the opponents,” Guardiola told reporters on Friday.

City’s desire to push through a move for the skilful Algerian was heightened last month by injuries to attackers Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus, although the former made a swift return from his ankle problem and played in the impressive midweek Champions League win in Basel.

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