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Defour: Leicester Is A 'Special Game'

Clarets midfielder on focus needed to balance feelings and football

7 November 2018

Steven Defour says the Clarets must try and stay focused on football, while also playing their part in remembering those who lost their lives in the fatal air crash at Leicester City.

Burnley will be the first visitors for a game at the King Power Stadium since Leicester owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four other people, including two members of his staff, were killed in a helicopter crash as they left the ground after the Foxes’ Premier League fixture on 27 October.

Saturday’s match, which follows the funeral of the Thai businessman in his native country this week, is certain to be a moving occasion for the Leicester players, staff and supporters – many of whom will march to the stadium together to show their appreciation for the chairman who helped deliver the league title in 2016.

The Clarets will show their own respects in a number of planned gestures before and during the game.

But Sean Dyche’s men will have to balance that approach with going in search of a third Premier League win of the season to reverse their recent fortunes.

“We have to try and do as we do usually, even though it’s a difficult and special game,” said midfield man Defour, who recently lost his own father following a bout of illness.

“I think we all know it’s going to be a special game. It’s their first game back since the accident. It’s going to be very emotional.

“It’s always difficult. Every person is different, how they deal with a loss.

“I think they did it very well, but we have to do our job also.

“We will pay our respects and then we will play the game like we will always do.

“It won’t be easy. There might be all sorts of things planned for the club to pay their respects, so we have to try and stay focused to play our game.”

Leicester called off their scheduled home League Cup tie against Southampton in the aftermath of the fatal accident but did play at Cardiff last weekend and won 1-0 before a number of players flew out to Bangkok to attend some of the funeral ceremonies for Srivaddhanaprabha.

The victory in Wales was the Foxes’ first win in four games and after a similar run, the Clarets will also be looking to bounce back ahead of the up-coming international break.

Dyche’s side  – which has lost their last three matches and conceded 13 goals – is currently just two points clear of the bottom three in 15th place in the table.

But play-maker Defour believes they are capable of pulling clear with a return to form and a rediscovery of the qualities that have established the Clarets in the top flight over the past two years.

“It’s early in the season, but it’s a sign you have to improve, otherwise you’re going to get in trouble,” said the former Belgium international, who is three league games into his comeback after nine months on the sidelines.

“But I’m not a person who looks down. I believe a lot in my team and I know we have the quality to stay in the Premier League and end in the mid-table. I am confident we can do that.

“Each year we’ve had a bad spell at some point. The last two years we had a bad spell more in January and February.

“We’re having it now and I hope we can close it as soon as possible and we can look up and kick on the season.

“Get back in our rhythm, get back to basics and the quality we had last year and everything will sort itself out.”

Defour added: “We just have to work and start from scratch and do one thing right and then two and then three and everything will follow at some point.

“There’s not a specified moment when you say ‘okay, now it’s going to be good’.

“As a player when you have a few bad matches, you don’t know why it happens. You’re on good form and then you go on bad form.

“You don’t know why it happened, but then the bad form goes back to the good form.

“You have to work hard and at some point it will pay off.”

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