‘We must show our char­ac­ter to hon­our our chair­man, that is the most im­por­tant thing’

MAN­AGER SAYS TRAGIC EVENTS WILL MAKE HIS PLAY­ERS BET­TER FOOT­BALLERS AND MEN

Leicester Mercury - - Sport - By ROB TAN­NER rob.tan­ner@reach­plc.com @rob­tan­ner­merc

pow­ered by LE­ICES­TER City’s play­ers will be bet­ter foot­ballers and bet­ter men for their ex­pe­ri­ences since the death of chair­man Vichai Sri­vad­dhanaprabha, man­ager Claude Puel be­lieves.

The City boss has praised his play­ers for the way they have con­ducted them­selves since the tragic he­li­copter crash that claimed the life of Khun Vichai and four oth­ers two weeks ago, fol­low­ing the West Ham United game at the King Power Sta­dium.

City re­turn to home soil to­day for the first time since the hor­rific scenes fol­low­ing the crash in a nearby car park and City are set to pay poignant trib­ute to the chair­man be­fore and dur­ing the visit of Burn­ley.

Puel be­lieves his play­ers will have ma­tured as men and learned more about them­selves dur­ing the dark­est time in the club’s his­tory, and he be­lieves they will be able to han­dle the emo­tional day as a re­sult.

“It’s just a pro­fes­sional at­ti­tude,” said Puel.

“On the pitch, we have to show our char­ac­ter, to hon­our our chair­man, it’s the most im­por­tant thing.

“We can­not play with just the emo­tion. If we re­main with just this feel­ing, it will not be pos­si­ble to find a good fo­cus and to play our game.

“It is im­por­tant to find the right bal­ance be­tween emo­tion and fo­cus. I have con­fi­dence in my play­ers, they have learned a lot about them­selves.”

Puel ad­mits it will be a tough af­ter­noon for ev­ery­one as­so­ci­ated with the club but be­lieves the fam­ily spirit at City, be­tween play­ers, staff and sup­port­ers, will see City through.

“It’s not easy, our first game at home,” he said. “There is a lot of emo­tion and a lot of events around the game.

“All the play­ers will show their ma­tu­rity and strength at th­ese events. We will give a good re­sponse to­gether with the sup­port of our fans.

“It’s like a fam­ily and it’s im­por­tant for us to hon­our our chair­man and to pay our trib­utes in the game.

“I would like suc­cess to play a full game with good con­cen­tra­tion and good fo­cus. We will see the re­sult.”

Since the tragedy, the club has pulled to­gether on and off the field, and it will be the same to­day as City cel­e­brate the life of Khun Vichai while also pay­ing re­spects on Re­mem­brance week­end.

Puel thanked ev­ery­one at the club for the way they have united in ad­ver­sity.

“The club has to man­age this sit­u­a­tion with the right de­ci­sions,” said Puel. “It’s a lot of work.

“There’s a lot of to­geth­er­ness. I would also like to thank them.

“All the club has kept a pro­fes­sional at­ti­tude and have found a good bal­ance be­tween work and hon­our­ing the chair­man.

“It’s fan­tas­tic for all the peo­ple at the club.

“The first game at home, with all the events, it will be tough.

“We will try to man­age mo­ment in the right way.

“I have seen my play­ers with good ma­tu­rity, with char­ac­ter, with a lot of soul.

“They keep their way, their fo­cus and there’s a lot of emo­tions also.” this

GETTY IM­AGES

‘PLAY­ERS WILL HAVE MA­TURED’: City boss Claude Puel

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