FOOTBALLER Fabrice Muamba had a "comfortable night" in intensive care as he continues his recovery from a cardiac arrest, doctors said today.
he 23-year-old is spending his fourth day at the London Chest Hospital after collapsing during an FA Cup match on Saturday.
Doctors and Bolton Wanderers Football Club said this morning that he is "comfortable" and that he and his family have been overwhelmed by the public support they have received.
A joint statement by the club and the hospital trust said: "Fabrice Muamba has had a comfortable night in the intensive care unit at the London Chest Hospital where the medical team is continuing to monitor his progress.
"Fabrice's family has asked us to thank everyone again for their thoughts and prayers and for the continued messages of support from which they draw great strength.
"To ensure the smooth running of the hospital for all patients, as well as Fabrice's need to concentrate on his recovery, they would request that he receives no more visitors for the moment, outside of immediate family and members of Bolton Wanderers Football Club."
Club manager Owen Coyle again visited the former England Under-21 international's bedside this morning.
Last night doctors said the star had started to breathe independently as friends revealed he had mumbled his first words since the incident.
He was also able to recognise family members and respond to questions.
A joint statement by Barts and the London NHS Trust and Bolton last night said: "Fabrice Muamba remains in intensive care at the London Chest Hospital. He is continuing to show signs of improvement this evening.
"He is currently able to breathe independently without the aid of a ventilator. He has also been able to recognise family members and respond to questions appropriately.
"These are all positive signs of progress. However, his condition remains serious and our medical staff in intensive care will continue to monitor and treat him.
"His family and club would like to thank the media for continuing to respect their privacy at this time."
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini called today for twice- yearly medical screenings for Premier League players after admitting he was worried that not enough is being done to protect them.
Mancini said he was relieved to hear of Muamba's improvement, but revealed that he failed to understand how the Premier League has allowed a situation that puts the safety of players at risk.
"I was really worried on Sunday," he said.
"Today I have read he has improved and I am very happy for him and his family.
"But if you want to know my opinion, it is that, here in England, the best championship in the world, everything is fantastic.
"But we need to improve the medical side for the players.
"We need to screen the players often, maybe two times a year, and they have to be more accurate because they don't do this.
"When I saw our medical two years ago, I was really worried. I said we need to do them better."
He added that he was stunned at the low standard of medicals in the Premier League compared with his native Italy, adding: "It is impossible that a young guy could die on the pitch because they didn't do a medical accurately.
"I want all the players, not just ours, to have more accurate medicals.
"What happened to Muamba and other players in the past can't happen again."
Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore has already announced a review of medical procedures, even though the high level of care Muamba received after collapsing at White Hart Lane owed much to the fallout from the fractured skull suffered by Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech five and a half years ago.