Mahrez not surprised by Leicester's title challenge

By Jamie Smith 21 December 2019 32
Mahrez not surprised by Leicester's title challenge

Manchester City star Riyad Mahrez says he is not surprised his old club Leicester City are competing for the Premier League title again.

Brendan Rodgers' Foxes have emerged as the closest competition for Liverpool, who have a 10-point advantage at the summit.

Mahrez was one of Leicester's stars and scooped the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year award when they shocked the sporting world by winning the 2015-16 Premier League title under Claudio Ranieri.

The Algeria winger highlighted the form of former team-mate Jamie Vardy - five goals clear in the race for the Golden Boot - as being key for Leicester's success this term.

"I am not surprised by them; they are a good team. They have good players and Jamie Vardy is scoring a lot of goals," Mahrez said ahead of City hosting Leicester on Saturday. 

"They have a good manager. I am not surprised at all. I think [they are genuine title contenders] because they are currently second. I am so happy for them. They deserve to be successful and I am looking forward to the game. 

"We have so many good memories together from my time there. What we achieved together was unbelievable and so that club means a lot to me.” 

"My first title with Leicester is one of the medals that means the most to me. As well as the Africa Cup of Nations, which was for my country and so there is a lot of emotion, it means a lot. 

"But with Leicester, it was an unbelievable achievement, and no one thought we were going to make it."

City's inconsistent form has left them 14 points behind runaway leaders Liverpool, who they pipped to the title last season.

A run of 14 successive wins to close out 2018-19 saw City edge out the Reds by 98 points to 97 and Mahrez feels that series of results indicates they champions are not yet out of the race.

"We know we are capable of doing that again," he added. "But you need to put it in on the pitch, be focused and try not to think about winning all of the games. 

"You just need to win the next one and then the next one. We are just thinking about the next game all of the time."

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Jamie Smith