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‘We are all numb with sadness and shock’ – Leicester manager

Leicester manager Claude Puel says the result is “not important” when they play Cardiff on Saturday – their first match since the club’s owner died in a helicopter crash at the weekend.

Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others were killed in the crash outside King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Puel says it was the Leicester players’ decision to go ahead with the Premier League match in Cardiff.

“Playing football has not been at front of our minds this week,” he said.

“But for this weekend, and all the matches thereafter, we play to honour a man who did so much for our club.

“The result is not important, but our desire, our actions to give our best on the pitch to honour our chairman, is the most important thing. I’m confident after I saw my players at training that they can give their best.”

Leicester goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel was one of the first players on the scene after the helicopter crashed.

“Kasper… he lives this situation and he saw a lot of things,” says Puel. “Kasper, like the other players, has a lot of history with the chairman and they are all devastated.

“We have a responsibility about the memory and work he [Srivaddhanaprabha] put in place. It was first words from Kasper, we have this responsibility.”

Tuesday’s Carabao Cup tie between Leicester and Southampton at King Power Stadium was postponed in the aftermath of Saturday’s crash.

All Premier League matches this weekend will be preceded by a minute’s silence, and players will wear black armbands.

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Ranieri pays respects to Leicester owner

Puel started his news conference by reading a statement, which began: “This has been without doubt one of hardest weeks in the history of this football club.

“The tragic loss of five lives has left us numb and in shock. He [Vichai] leaves a legacy and his vision for the club we take forward.”

The Frenchman said Leicester’s players and staff had been offered counselling by the club, and a meeting was held on Monday to “speak and share” their feelings.

“It was important not to forget but talk among ourselves and share this difficult moment,” he said.

The players were given the choice whether they wanted to train or not on Tuesday, and Puel said all 27 took part.

“I was not surprised but it was a fantastic feeling to see all my players on the pitch,” he said. “All of them were ready to train and give 100% for the honour of our chairman.”

Srivaddhanaprabha’s funeral will begin in his native Thailand on Saturday and could last a week. Puel said players would be given the opportunity to attend.

News Reporter

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