Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba was fighting for his life as his manager Owen Coyle said he hopes there will be "a happy outcome" for the player.

It emerged that paramedics could not get the 23 year old's heart to start beating on its own for almost two hours after he suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed on the pitch during an FA Cup tie.

He fell to the ground at White Hart Lane at 6.11pm on Saturday in front of millions of television viewers watching the club'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 a critical condition and is anaesthetised in an intensive care unit at the hospital which is seven miles away from the stadium.

After visiting him in hospital, Coyle said: "From our end, and on behalf of the family, we certainly want to say thanks to everybody. Everybody is praying for Fabrice which is very important and that has been a real source of strength to the family.

"It's great to be talented at football but it is more important to be a genuinely nice man and Fabrice is that. We certainly hope he comes through this. Our concern is Fabrice and Fabrice only and that's what all our energy is going into - hopefully a happy outcome."

Relatives, including Muamba's brother and fiancee, and colleagues have visited the hospital since he was admitted.

Coyle has attended the hospital twice and chairman Phil Gartside arrived on Sunday afternoon flanked by two other men.

After Gartside left he said: "The support that we had yesterday from Tottenham and our own fans was fantastic - the staff, the fans, the players and the officials at the game - it was unbelievable. We have had so many messages of support from around the world."

Meanwhile, Wanderers have postponed their next fixture. The Premier League tie against Aston Villa was due to take place on Tuesday evening, but a statement on the club's statement said the match had been called off.