Harry Maguire: Leicester cannot use Mahrez saga as excuse

Leicester City defender Harry Maguire insists the team cannot use the Riyad Mahrez saga as an excuse for poor performances on the pitch.

The Foxes have failed to win any of their three matches since the Algerian went AWOL at the end of the January transfer window in an attempt to force through a move to Manchester City, losing to Everton and drawing with Swansea at home before being thumped 5-1 by City at the weekend. 

Mahrez returned to the squad for the clash at the Etihad, and team-mate Maguire says his absence isn't to blame for their recent downturn in fortunes.  

Harry Maguire insists Riyad Mahrez is not to blame for Leicester City's recent poor form

Harry Maguire insists Riyad Mahrez is not to blame for Leicester City's recent poor form

'No , it wasn't a factor at all,' Maguire told the Leicester Mercury. 'We prepared properly, we knew what we had to do. To come here we knew we had to play the perfect match. 

'We gave the ball away cheaply a lot. We were a bit too open in defence and there were too many gaps between us, especially in the second-half.

'Perhaps when it was 3-1 we needed to consolidate and say we don't concede any more goals.

The England international was at the heart of the defence during the 5-1 defeat at Man City

The England international was at the heart of the defence during the 5-1 defeat at Man City

'If we go and score, then it is a bonus and we can go and put pressure on them, but we were a bit too open. But we will learn from it and we have plenty of big games to come.'

Danny Simpson has revealed that Mahrez held clear-the-air talks with his team-mates after abandoning them over the past fortnight. 

Claude Puel's men face Sheffield United in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Friday night, where the midfielder could be restored to the starting line up following his cameo against City. 

Sergio Aguero scored four times at the Etihad to extend the Foxes' winless run in the league

Sergio Aguero scored four times at the Etihad to extend the Foxes' winless run in the league