Claude Puel says he will work to deliver the legacy of former Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha following his death in a helicopter crash.
Srivaddhanaprabha was one of five people to die when his private helicopter came down shortly after taking off from the King Power Stadium pitch following the 1-1 Premier League draw with West Ham on Saturday.
Tributes have been sent in from across the football world while the outside of the stadium is surrounded by a huge floral tribute to the popular chairman, who oversaw Leicester’s remarkable title triumph in 2015-16.
And Puel, who read a prepared statement to the media ahead of Leicester’s first game since Srivaddhanaprabha’s death, a trip to Cardiff City on Saturday, gave a moving tribute.
“Before we start, I would like to just to say some words,” Puel said at a news conference on Thursday. “This has been without doubt one of the hardest weeks in the story of this football club.
“The tragic loss of five lives has left us all numb with sadness and shock. Our prayers and love remain with Vichai’s family and all the other families who have lost loved ones.
“Vichai made Leicester City what it is, he made it a family. He invested in the club, he invested in the city, he invested in the people.
“He truly was loved by everyone inside and outside the club. Personally it was a privilege to work for him and I will cherish the belief he showed in me and the great moments we shared.
“Seeing all of the messages, flowers and shirts outside the stadium this week show the amount of lives he has touched. He leaves behind a legacy that will be remembered forever and a vision that the club and myself as manager will take forward with us.
Claudio Ranieri, who managed Leicester City in our 2015/16 Premier League title-winning season, has visited King Power Stadium to pay his respects. pic.twitter.com/Ifdk851kLG
— Leicester City (@LCFC) November 1, 2018
“I myself have never been prouder to be the manager of this football club. In such difficult circumstances the togetherness shown by the whole club from the staff to the players and fans has shown what a special club this is.
“Playing football has not been at the front of our minds this week. But for this weekend and all matches thereafter, we will play to honour and remember a man who did so much for our club. We will continue the Leicester City he built.”
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