Point gives Leicester pride after draining week

LONDON • Leicester winger Marc Albrighton admitted that his teammates were "emotionally drained" after a week in which they flew to Bangkok for the funeral of their late owner before returning to the King Power Stadium - where he died - to play Burnley in front of still-grieving supporters on Saturday.

"You're tired in your head and your legs from everything that's happened. It was one of the hardest games I've ever played," he said after the goal-less Premier League draw with the Clarets.

Albrighton was part of a 13-strong Leicester delegation comprising several first-team players, manager Claude Puel and director of football Jon Rudkin who missed training in midweek to honour Thai billionaire Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha at Wat Thepsirin.

The retail magnate was one of five people killed in a helicopter crash just outside the stadium on Oct 27 and the players looked jaded after the 19,000km round trip.

"We went to Thailand and paid our respects to Vichai and his family. It is something we felt we wanted to do," Albrighton added.

"It is a tough time for everyone but everyone has done their part... It's extraordinary the way the fans have come together."

At the end of their match, Claude Puel's men walked round the pitch with Aiyawatt, the club's vice-chairman and Vichai's son, as the crowd chanted his father's name and raised scarves in tribute.

MENTALLY, PHYSICALLY TOUGH

You're tired in your head and your legs from everything that's happened. It was one of the hardest games I've ever played.

MARC ALBRIGHTON, Leicester winger, on preparing for and playing the game after a tiring 19,000km round trip to Bangkok.

The players wore special commemorative shirts for the sombre occasion, which had been raw with emotion from the moment thousands of fans - with scarves that read "Forever in our Hearts" draped across their necks - marched from the city centre to the ground in a moving tribute to Vichai.

Afterwards, Puel told reporters that he was proud of the way his side had coped with such a difficult test in less-than-ideal conditions.

"It was a tough week to prepare this game without training sessions and a long journey to Bangkok. The players compensated with desire," he said.

While all the attention was inevitably focused on Leicester, Burnley manager Sean Dyche also felt the day had also been trying for his squad.

"To be honest, it was difficult for all of us. They (the home side) gave everything and we had to try and match that, which we did," he said.

"It was a strange one in that it's very rare for the result to be irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. The game was more about a show of respect."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2018, with the headline 'Point gives Leicester pride after draining week'. Print Edition | Subscribe