Football Football

Mahrez set for Leicester return

Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez in action for Leicester City during their International Champions Cup match against Celtic. PHOTO/ STUART WALLACE FOR DAILYMAIL

LEICESTER CITY, United Kindogm, Dec 29- Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri has confirmed that last season’s PFA Player of the Year, Riyad Mahrez, will return for Saturday’s ‘must-win’ Premier League match against West Ham.

After suffering a 2-0 defeat to Everton on Boxing day, the defending English champions are just three point above the relegation zone, having only won one of their last nine matches domestically.

In fact, the reverse to the Toffees were their ninth of the season, having tasted defeat only three times last term.

“Yes, we have to turn to 20 points, we (have) 17. We have to win, we have to win, we have to win,” Ranieri told the media on Thursday.

“We are not happy, nobody is happy – the chairman, me, the sporting director, staff, players. We have to react as soon as possible. We have to show all these good things on the pitch.

“The match against Everton was very even and they scored twice. It’s unbelievable but that’s football, we have to react, concentrate 100 per cent and fight. When we concentrate we can show a very fantastic performance.”

Mahrez was a second-half substitute against Ronald Koeman’s side, and Ranieri added that the Algerian suffered from fatigue after the Foxes played with 10 men for more than an hour during their 2-2 draw with Stoke.

“I watched him [Mahrez] during training last week and he was (a) little tired. At 10 v 11 at Stoke he worked hard so I decided to give him rest,” the Italian added.

“He will play the next match and I want to see a reaction – I wait to see a reaction.”