Claude Puel has admitted it was tough to leave Shinji Okazaki and Marc Albrighton out of his first game in charge of Leicester.
The Foxes saw off the challenge of Everton on Sunday, with youngsters Ben Chilwell and Demarai Gray brought into the side.
And after the 2-0 win, Puel revealed it was 'difficult' to drop two fan favourites in Okazaki and Albrighton.
“Of course when you choose the starting line-up it is difficult,” the French coach said, quoted by the Leicester Mercury.
“We tried something about a feeling, about a balance for the team. I know Okazaki scored last week. Albrighton has played well also and he was a starting player, but it was important to see all the team and other players.
“I was interested to see the attitude of the players because they had a good spirit, a good attitude and worked hard without showing some frustration.
“This is very important for the squad for the future.”
The changes allowed Puel to utilise Mahrez in a central role, and he has expressed his belief that the tactical switch was a success.
“We spoke about football and it was the same on Saturday,” he added. “He likes football and watches the games and watches what happens. I just asked about his feeling because it was difficult in the second half to find him.
“In the first half it was very interesting to see him because he is free when he plays just behind Vardy. He can make a good assist and penetration. He has qualities and he is a talented player.”