(Reuters) – Leicester City manager Claude Puel is counting on team spirit and togetherness to get his side through what promises to be an emotional Premier League home game against Burnley on Saturday.
The match is the first at the King Power Stadium since Leicester’s owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha was killed in a helicopter crash near the stadium on Oct. 27.
The squad flew to Thailand for the billionaire’s funeral earlier this week and Puel said his players had found it hard to prepare for the game.
“We didn’t have a lot of training sessions. We did a little session on Wednesday, a light session after the journey. We trained today and there is another light session on Friday,” the manager told a news conference on Thursday.
“It’s not easy to prepare (for) this game. The emotion, no consistency in training sessions. I think our togetherness gives us a good energy and fantastic strength. Our spirit, positive attitude and all the support from our fans will be important.
“It was a long journey but very important for us, the players and staff to support Vichai’s family and it was a chance for us also, to honour our chairman.”
Defender Harry Maguire and midfielder James Maddison will both miss the match due to injury but are expected to return after the international break and Puel said he had no other injury concerns.
“Harry will not be available for this weekend and the internationals games also, it will be the same for Maddison,” Puel added.
“All the other squad will be available, including Matty James. We will see after the international break if they can come back, Maguire’s injury is a little more serious than Maddison.”
Burnley boss Sean Dyche said his team would pay their respects to the victims of the crash in what will undoubtedly be an emotional fixture.
“This is bigger than football and has touched a lot of people in terms of the person and people involved,” Dyche said. “We will pay our respects and we are there to support Leicester, but when the whistle blows they will know we have a job to do.”
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Pritha Sarkar)