CLAUDE PUEL has revealed what he thought immediately after learning of the fatal helicopter crash that claimed five lives last week.
Leicester manager Puel was in his office when he was told of the news that chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha’s helicopter had crashed outside the stadium shortly after the match with West Ham on Saturday.
He was informed by goalkeeping coach Mike Stowell and revealed his immediate feelings today.
“We were devastated and thought it is not possible,” he said. “We remained in silence.
All my squad had a lot of sadness and upset about this event.”
Leicester chairman Srivaddhanaprabha was confirmed dead on the Sunday and the footballing world has been in shock and mourning since.
Puel also released a statement describing this as the hardest week in the history in football.
“This has been without doubt one of the hardest weeks in the history of this football club,” he said.
“The tragic loss of five lives has left us all numb.
“Vichai made Leicester City into a family and made it dream.
“He invested in the club, in the city and invested in the people.
“He truly was loved by everyone inside and outside the club.
“Personally it was a privilege to work with him.
“Seeing all the messages and flowers outside of the stadium this week, shows the amount of lives he has touched.
“He leaves behind a legacy and a vision which myself as manager will take forward.
“I myself I have never been prouder to manage this football club – the togetherness shows what a special a football club it is.
“Football has not been at the front of our thoughts but we will play to honour him.”
Leicester postponed their game with Southampton on Wednesday night in the Carabao Cup but will play Cardiff this weekend.
“We have a lot of responsibility to continue our work,” Puel said.
“We have to fight together to honour him.”
Leicester players and staff have been offered grief counselling in the wake of the disaster, with players such as Jamie Vardy and Kasper Schmeichel among those to post emotional tributes online.
Puel said: “A lot of people have been made available to help the players and staff and I think everyone’s reaction to this event is different and we have to understand that people can have a different reaction but we put in place all the help necessary for all the people.”
Although they are set to return to the pitch on Saturday, their playing commitments could clash with the funeral, which begins on Saturday and could last for up to a week.
However Puel said: “I want to give players the opportunity to go if they want to but I don’t know about the logistics. But the players want to go and support Vichai’s family.”