1. ITV Report

Warnock on search for Sala: 'It's by far the most difficult week in my career'

Cardiff City's manager was speaking publicly for the first time since the striker's plane went missing.

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock has described the week since Emiliano Sala's plane went missing as "by far the most difficult week in my career."

Speaking publicly for the first time since the striker's plane went missing over the English Channel, Warnock said the aftermath had been "traumatic."

Commenting on the continued search efforts he added: "If it was my kid I'd want everybody looking at it forever."

If that was my boy, I'd want to be looking for another week. Even beyond that if I could.

– Neil Warnock

Warnock was speaking at a press conference ahead of Cardiff City's Premier League game against Arsenal on Tuesday evening.

Discussing the feeling among the team and coaching staff, the manager said: "In an ideal world I'd rather not have another game at all, the way I feel at the moment." He added, however, that the players "need some sort of distraction".

Gunners manager Unai Emery said at his pre-match press conference: "All our thoughts is to Nantes, to Cardiff, to the player's and pilot's family, friends. Tomorrow we are going to remember them."

Tributes have been left for the striker at Cardiff City and Nantes. Credit: PA

The manager started his statement with an apology for not having spoken publicly earlier, Warnock explained it was "too early" and did not think he'd have been able to.

Warnock paid tribute to Sala's family who are in Guernsey launching a private search for the striker after over £295,000 was raised to continue the operation. He also thanked the "amazing fans in Cardiff and Nantes" for their support.

He described the days after Sala's plane went missing as "unknown territory." Warnock added: "I've never experienced anything like it... Things like this just don't happen, or you don't think they happen."

I've met the lad and talked to him on numerous occasions and know how he was looking forward to this.

– Neil Warnock
Sala's sister visits tributes left at Cardiff City stadium. Credit: Adam Hale/PA Wire/PA Images

Warnock revealed that he had made cross-Channel flights to France on a similar plane to the one Sala had travelled in. He added he believed he had been piloted by Ibbotson.

"I'd been on a couple of planes like that [...] I'd been over the top of Nantes a couple of times and I do think I had that pilot, who I thought was a fabulous pilot."

Responding to a reporter's observations that he appeared tired, Warnock said "I can't get my head around the situation." He compared the mood at the club to the days after the Leicester City helicopter crash.

Warnock said there had been a "sombre mood all week" at the club. Staff and supporters will wear yellow daffodils for Sala when the team take on Arsenal on Tuesday.

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