Algeria's Mahrez: City Win Made Us Believe - Mahrez
Algeria international Riyad Mahrez has highlighted Leicester City’s win at Manchester City in February as the moment when they started to believe that they could win the Premier League title.
The Fennec Foxes attacker – who was named the PFA Player of the Season on Sunday – also revealed that he spoke to N’Golo Kanté about what it would be like to win the Premier League a few weeks before their stunning victory at the Etihad Stadium.
At the time, the Foxes players were essentially joking about lifting the league trophy at the end of the season, but Tottenham Hotspur’s draw against West Bromwich Albion last night means Leicester will mathematically secure the title if they beat Manchester United this coming Sunday.
For Mahrez, the win away to City on February 6 – which followed shortly after a good victory over Liverpool – was the point at which he realised Leicester were capable of going all the way to Premier League glory.
“To score three goals at City is not easy. It was 3-0 and ended up 3-1. That was when we started doing something big,” Mahrez said, reflecting on a match in which he scored a wonderful solo goal.
“In January we [Mahrez and Kante] just said: ‘Imagine?’ We didn’t go into much more, we just said: ‘Imagine?’ But that was only for about 30 seconds and then we said: ‘No, let’s stay focused and let’s see.’ It was still a long way to go, maybe 15 games.”
Mahrez, in a separate interview with French magazine Onze Mondial, also revealed one of the secrets behind Leicester’s success.
“It is desire. We are fighters. And when I say to you ‘fighters’, I have never seen anything like this in my life,” said the Algerian.
“The guys are hungry like crazy and they let nothing go. You blast a shot straight into a guy’s face and he doesn’t even flinch. The defender’s job is to defend, that is it. They love that. You will never see our defenders out of line, trying to dribble and making a pass through the gap.
“Next, we have real midfielders. The signing of N’Golo Kanté has put Danny Drinkwater in the limelight, because the pair complement each other superbly. And then I am doing well this year, Jamie Vardy too. And we have a good coach. It is a bit of all of that.”