Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez is “heartbroken” at the death of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and dedicated his matchwinning goal against Tottenham to the Leicester owner.
Mahrez scored the only goal of the game as the champions went back to the top of the Premier League at Wembley and he celebrated by pointing to the sky in dedication to his former chairman, who was killed in a helicopter crash on Saturday night.
The Algeria international, who joined City in the summer, was a key figure in Leicester’s stunning Premier League triumph in 2015-16 and was affected by the events at the King Power Stadium over the weekend.
“He was such a good person and I’m very, very sad. That’s why I put my hands in the sky for him.
“He did a lot for me and for Leicester. He was like a dad to us. He had a very big heart. I was heartbroken to hear this news.
“It’s a difficult situation and I’m with Leicester and the families of the victims.
“I always wanted to play, he would have wanted me to play. He was passionate about football.”
City boss Pep Guardiola said there was never any option Mahrez would not play at Wembley.
The Spaniard said: “All of us spoke with him and asked him how he feels. It was a big loss for all of the families in Leicester and Riyad was part of that for many, many years.
“Of course it was tough but I didn’t have to speak to him in terms of how he felt about playing because I know how competitive he is and how he likes to play in big events and big stages and sometimes playing helps, not to forget but to live it in a better way.”
It was far from a vintage performance from the champions but they could have scored further goals, with Raheem Sterling, David Silva and Sergio Aguero all missing chances.
Tottenham matched their opponents for periods of the game but never looked threatening until the final 10 minutes when Erik Lamela missed a golden chance, blazing over from 10 yards after being teed up by Dele Alli.
He said: “You cannot compare us with Manchester City, we are a different level. We have still not achieved the level of Manchester City, it is a team that is focusing on trying to win titles. We are focusing on different things, not only to win games.
“The gap is not big, but we need to respect the gap and we still have not achieved the level of Manchester City.”