Claudio Ranieri said on Tuesday that the Leicester fairytale which he played such a pivotal role in came to an end with the death of Thai owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha in a helicopter crash in October.
Ranieri is preparing to welcome Leicester to bottom club Fulham on Wednesday, the first time the amiable 67-year-old Italian pits his wits against the club he guided to the Premier League title in 2016 only to be sacked in February 2017.
Vichai died alongside four other people when the helicopter they were travelling in crashed near the King Power Stadium shortly after taking off.
Ranieri — who was out of work at the time — travelled from Italy to pay his respects at a shrine set up outside the ground.
“I think we spoke a lot about the fairytale,” said Ranieri at his eve of match press conference.
“Now the chairman, Vichai, has died the fairytale has finished but the memories remain and the achievement too. I am very sad for what happened and we have to continue with our lives.”
Ranieri is held in great affection by the Foxes fans and those supporters who travel to London for the match are expected to give him a warm reception.
“It will be very strange. A very emotional moment, but it’s OK, that is football,” he said.
“It will be a good moment, for sure, but we have to win.”
Ranieri, who replaced Slavisa Jokanovic after the Serbian was sacked last month due to a terrible start to the campaign, has guided them to a win and a defeat in his first two games in charge.
They are presently bottom of the table, two points adrift of fourth from bottom Huddersfield.
© Agence France-Presse (Additional edits by Michael Corry)