Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle describes Fabrice Muamba's "brave fight" for life
Bolton Wanderers manager Owen Coyle has spoken of Fabrice Muamba's "brave fight" as the player remained critically ill following a cardiac arrest.
Coyle said the family of the player had been inundated with messages of support following his collapse as Bolton Wanderers played Tottenham at White Hart Lane on Saturday.
"The message is the good will, the prayers from everybody, they are so thankful and they want to put that on record - to say 'keep up the prayers, thanks for all the support,"' he said.
"They have been inundated as we all have, both in the football community globally and family and friends. People are taking a genuine interest and a real concern with how Fabrice is doing."
Coyle was speaking outside the London Chest Hospital where the 23-year-old player is in a stable but critical condition.
"We all know he's such a wonderful lad, he's a young man and we all hope that will help in this brave fight which he is undergoing at the moment," Coyle continued.
"It's a difficult situation but the family are bearing up as well as they can. They themselves are very positive people.
"You look at what Fabrice has been through in life already and you can tell that he is a fighter.
"He has such a fantastic smile and that's what we all want to see again."
"When situations like this occur, there is a real strength, a real unity and a real togetherness. As a family they are showing that and again that has been boosted by everybody else's support," Coyle said.
He thanked the hospital for its hard work and prompt action, describing the skills of the medical staff as "incredible".
A joint statement released earlier by the club and the Barts and the London NHS Trust, said: "Fabrice Muamba's heart condition is stable, but he remains critically ill in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital.
"The family is grateful to the media for continuing to respect their privacy at this time."
It emerged that paramedics could not get the midfielder's heart to start beating on its own for almost two hours after he collapsed on the pitch during an FA Cup tie.
He fell to the ground at White Hart Lane at 6.11pm in front of millions of television viewers watching Bolton's quarter-final clash with Tottenham Hotspur.
Paramedics desperately tried to resuscitate him but were unable to start his heart working by itself again until he reached London Chest Hospital, in Bethnal Green, east London, at 8pm.
He remains in an induced coma in intensive care at the hospital, which is seven miles away from the stadium.
Muamba's fiancee, who goes by the name Shauna Muamba on Twitter and is mother to their son Joshua, urged fans to pray for him. She said on the social networking site: "God is in control. Please keep @fmuamba in ur prayers xx"
She later added: "Please keep praying for @fmuamba its really helping I can feel it xx".
Another post said: "2 everyone out there thank u so much for all the love and support collectively as a family we appreciate it all. Plz continue 2 pray 4 fab x"
She tweeted on Valentine's Day that she had accepted the player's marriage proposal.
Relatives, including Muamba's brother and fiancee, and colleagues have visited the hospital since he was admitted.
Muamba's friend, Arsenal defender Johan Djourou, and Spurs striker Jermain Defoe, who was in tears as Muamba lay on the pitch on Saturday, also visited yesterday.
Defoe stayed for 15 minutes and was too upset to comment as he left. Djourou was seen walking out of the hospital grounds later, after avoiding the waiting camera crews as he left the building.
Meanwhile, Bolton have postponed their next fixture.
The Premier League tie against Aston Villa was due to take place tomorrow evening, but a statement on the club's website said the match had been called off.
During several games yesterday, including Manchester United's Premier League clash with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Newcastle's game against Norwich, players and fans showed their support for Muamba with a minute's applause before kick-off.
During Chelsea's 5-2 FA Cup quarter-final victory over Leicester City, former Bolton player Gary Cahill lifted his shirt to reveal a "Pray for Muamba" T-shirt after he scored the London club's first goal.
Since the incident, fellow players have taken to Twitter to express their shock.
Fans have left a series of tributes, including cards, a flag and football shirts, to Muamba outside the hospital and at Bolton's Reebok Stadium.