Claudio Ranieri: Riyad Mahrez can improve at Leicester

Leicester forward Riyad Mahrez
Mahrez scored against Chelsea in what proved to be Jose Mourinho's final game in charge

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri insists forward Riyad Mahrez does not need to leave the club to further his career.

Algeria international Mahrez, 24, has attracted interest by scoring 13 goals and providing seven assists to help the Foxes to the top of the Premier League.

"He wants to stay with us, we want to keep him and that's it," Ranieri said.

"He has to improve and when he improves, the team improves and when that happens why would he want to go away? He's a king here."

Mahrez, who joined Leicester from French second-tier side Le Havre for an undisclosed fee in January 2014, has formed an exciting partnership with Jamie Vardy, who is the leading Premier League goalscorer this term with 15.

Ranieri said of the Algerian: "He can grow with the team because if you stay at the bottom and fight no-one knows you but now everybody is talking about you and that is maybe a bit of pressure.

"You have to manage this kind of pressure. It's important for him to manage this stress. It's important he understands on the pitch is one thing and the TVs and newspapers are another thing."

Ranieri told BBC 5 live that Leicester "don't need the money" they could bring in by selling either Mahrez or Vardy in January.

"They stay with us until the summer and after that they want to stay with us if we finish in a high position," said the Italian, who insists he is only focused on the Foxes' Boxing Day fixture at Liverpool and hasn't even thought about winning the title.

"Leicester is starting to build something fantastic and if they stay with us, they can contribute to something good."

Leicester beat Everton last weekend to ensure they will be top at Christmas, the first team in Premier League history to do so having been bottom of the table at the same point in the previous season.

"The pressure is on the big teams," Ranieri added. "Leicester had the pressure last season in this period, bad stress.

"Now they must enjoy it. They must play free, without pressure. It's stupid if we have pressure."

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