We all know the English media’s view of Leicester’s season, but what about abroad? After all, Jorge Sampaoli, Sevilla’s manager, still labelled them ‘dangerous’ on Tuesday in his press conference ahead of his side’s Champions League clash against the Foxes.
Currently 17th in the Premier League after 25 games, Claudio Ranieri’s men are only one point above the relegation zone, and could astonishingly end up in the Championship next season if they don’t turn their campaign around quickly.
While the team as a whole has failed to live up to last season’s standards, it is the individual brilliance of Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez that Leicester are missing the most, along with N’Golo Kanté.
Both players have struggled, combining just eight goals between them, since allegedly rejecting moves over the summer and signing new contracts with the club, with many now questioning their decision to do so.
For example, in France, beIN Sports journalist and Algeria fan Smaïl Bouabdellah seems to think Mahrez doesn’t appear to be as motivated as he was last season.
He told their website: “Like his team, his season in the Premier League is very complicated. However, in the Champions League, he’s performing similarly, but I think he looks tired. Leicester’s shirt is too small for him. I think he made a mistake by staying”.
While he might see him as ‘bored’, one thing he doesn’t think Mahrez is is ‘lazy’, following a remark by Martin Keown on Match of the Day a week or so ago.
He added: “I think that’s too easy. That he’s struggling or that he’s tired, that’s a certainty, but to speak of laziness, that means he’s done, that he doesn’t want to play.
“No, I think that if he could, Mahrez would be at the same level as last year. Every player wants to stay at the top all the time. What player doesn’t want to score and win?”
It is through this inability to maintain his form that Bouabdellah feels puts him below the best players in the world, like Messi and Ronaldo.
However, the journalist fully expects last year’s Mahrez to turn up against Sevilla, and wouldn’t be surprised if Sampaoli specifically targeted the Algerian winger defensively.
As the Argentinean manager said, Leicester remain ‘dangerous’ if you allow them to play their game, and that includes giving their star forwards freedom to express themselves.