Stoke striker Mame Biram Diouf has expressed his thanks for the support he has received following the death of his mother and emphasised he now feels able to focus on football again.
Diouf’s mother died in September after being caught up in a human stampede during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.
He was granted compassionate leave by Stoke when the news emerged and has started only one game since.
Quoted on Wednesday by The Sentinel, Diouf said of what he has been through: “It was long, long, long, long days, but now I am getting back and trying to stay together with the family.
“Now I am really fully focused. It’s been a long time being away, not away, but away in the head. But now I am focused on football.”
The 28-year-old Senegal international added: “All the team has been really supporting and helping me a lot and the gaffer (Mark Hughes), everyone.
“They were there when it was needed and I want to say thank you to all the fans too.”