November 2, 2018 / 11:21 AM / 15 days ago

Soccer: Warnock expects emotional atmosphere for Leicester visit

(Reuters) - Cardiff City fans plan to unveil a giant flag with the Thai emblem to honour Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha when the teams meet in an emotional Premier League clash on Saturday, manager Neil Warnock said.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Liverpool v Cardiff City - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - October 27, 2018 Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock gestures Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

Warnock said on Friday that the Thai tycoon’s death in a helicopter crash last weekend had made the match at the Cardiff City Stadium lose its significance, but would bring fans from both teams closer.

“Things like this unite supporters,” Warnock told a news conference on Friday.

“It is going to be a difficult time for both teams and supporters. I think our fans have been fantastic — they have done a giant flag with the Thai emblem to be passed around and it will be quite emotional for our fans.”

Vichai was one of five killed in the crash near the King Power Stadium after Leicester’s last league match on Saturday, a 1-1 draw with West Ham United.

Leicester manager Claude Puel paid an emotional tribute to Vichai on Thursday and said it had been one of the hardest weeks in the history of the football club.

Puel said Leicester’s players were devastated by the accident and the team wanted to honour their chairman on the pitch against Cardiff.

Warnock said he had prepared his team for the match, but was unsure what would happen on the pitch.

“Football pales into insignificance when you see what’s happened and how important life is,” Warnock said.

“Tragedies such as this are so few and far between that they do hit home about what is important in life. It is only a game of football but you can’t just push this under the carpet.”

Leicester, Premier League champions in 2016, are 12th in the table on 13 points, while promoted Cardiff are 17th with five points from 10 games.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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