Antonio Conte reveals Tottenham have just ELEVEN players left to play after Covid outbreak

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‘It’s a big infection. We have families, it’s not right’: Emotional boss Antonio Conte reveals Tottenham have just ELEVEN players left to play after growing major Covid outbreak – and calls for matches to stop

  • Spurs are struggling with a Covid outbreak with just eleven players available 
  • The situation worsened after seven players initially tested positive 
  • Their Brighton trip is at risk with the club set to request a postponement 
  • Antonio Conte admitted his side are ‘scared’ after the outbreak hit his squad 
  • He said it was a ‘serious problem’ and said the club were facing uncertainty  



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Tottenham boss Antonio Conte admitted his side are ‘scared’ about the Covid outbreak that has ripped its way through his squad – with just eleven players left available and the club planning to request that their trip to Brighton is postponed. 

Spurs were forced to re-test all of their players and staff on Tuesday after seven stars and four members of staff returned positive results earlier in the week.

And further positives have emerged from their latest coronavirus PCR tests – including one player and one member of staff who were involved in training on Wednesday only to discover after the session that they had also contracted the virus, taking the total number affected to 13 players and staff.

Conte said: ‘The problem is every day we are having people with Covid. People that yesterday weren’t positive today are positive and we continue to have contact with people we think are negative but the day after they become positive I think this is a serious problem.

//bigsportsblogs.com

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte admitted his side’s Covid outbreak was ‘scary’ after 13 players and staff tested positive

The Italian said the situation was becoming worse by the day with one more player and staff testing positive after taking part in training

The Italian said the situation was becoming worse by the day with one more player and staff testing positive after taking part in training

It is not yet known which players have been affected, with seven initially picking up the virus before the situation escalated

It is not yet known which players have been affected, with seven initially picking up the virus before the situation escalated

‘Today one player and one member of staff. I think the worst is we don’t know and we continue to have contact with people the day before was negative. And for sure this is not a good situation. 

‘We had a training session. We prepare the game against Rennes but it is very difficult to face at the end of the training session again, one player positive, another member of staff positive and tomorrow who? Me? Another player? Another member of staff? And we continue in this way.

‘The situation is serious but I don’t know and it’s a pity because I want to speak about football and now to speak about Covid I think this is not good for you, me, our fans, all of football I think.

Conte's men are preparing for a UEFA Conference League game against Rennes on Thursday but the Italian revealed he has just 11 players available

Conte’s men are preparing for a UEFA Conference League game against Rennes on Thursday but the Italian revealed he has just 11 players available  

‘Every day we are having contact with people that are false negative and become positive and them everyone is a bit scared because we have family and why I have to take this risk? Why? This is my question. 

‘Today we had the training session, we prepared the game and yesterday two other positives, today two other positives and tomorrow, who? Me? I don’t know. Maybe. Better me than a player for sure but I think that it is not right for everyone because we have family and contact with them when we come back home we have contact with our family.

‘There are situations that made me very upset, very upset because it is serious and there is a big infection and now for sure we are a bit scared because tomorrow we don’t know what happened.’

Spurs striker Harry Kane led the group of remaining stars in training ahead of the Rennes clash

Spurs striker Harry Kane led the group of remaining stars in training ahead of the Rennes clash

Davinson Sanchez (centre), Matt Doherty (left) and Eric Dier (second left) also took part

Davinson Sanchez (centre), Matt Doherty (left) and Eric Dier (second left) also took part 

Youngster Nile John was among the group preparing for their UEFA Conference League clash

Youngster Nile John was among the group preparing for their UEFA Conference League clash

Conte ended his press conference after just ten minutes, with huge question marks now hanging over their next two games. 

Tottenham players looked concerned as they headed out for training on Wednesday afternoon. 

Vice captain Harry Kane led the group, along with Davinson Sanchez, Eric Dier, Matt Doherty and Joe Rodon. 

As reported by Sportsmail, the Premier League were already braced for a request from Spurs who were holding off making a call on their intentions for the Brighton game until the outcome of their follow-up tests were confirmed.

Conte said the players were worried about passing the virus on to their families and said he was 'upset' about the situation

Conte said the players were worried about passing the virus on to their families and said he was ‘upset’ about the situation

The club are set to make a request to the Premier League to postpone their trip to Brighton

The club are set to make a request to the Premier League to postpone their trip to Brighton

The Premier League have agreed to postpone fixtures in the past when clubs have been badly hit. The Premier League board make the final decision, treating each request on a case-by-case basis.

Spurs’s immediate priority is Thursday’s meeting with French side Rennes, a game UEFA insisted on Tuesday that they expect to go ahead.

But UEFA will now be facing serious questions about the game, with their rules stipulating that a game would be in danger of being postponed if Spurs had less than 13 players from their 25-man A list or no goalkeeper available. 

The outbreak comes as a huge blow to Conte, whose side have won their last three successive games and are desperate to keep momentum going. 

The news comes as a huge blow to Spurs, who are looking to keep their momentum after three straight Premier League wins

The news comes as a huge blow to Spurs, who are looking to keep their momentum after three straight Premier League wins  

Spurs already have a game in hand to play after their clash at Burnley was called off due to adverse weather and Conte will be frustrated to miss out on another chance to close the gap to the top four – even without a number of top players.  

Earlier in the season, the club reported two false positives ahead of their trip to Newcastle after taking lateral flow tests before the senior players were given the all clear to take part. 

Covid outbreaks were common last season – with many games forced to be delayed as players were struck down with the virus – but Spurs would become the first team to postpone a game if they are unable to fulfil their fixture at Brighton. 

Tottenham are on a high after beating Norwich 3-0 on Sunday, which followed a 2-0 win over Brentford and a 2-1 victory against Leeds. 

They must win their Conference League game against Rennes to have any chance of reaching the next round. 

UEFA often insist ‘the show must go on’ but making Tottenham play Rennes in the midst of a Covid outbreak would turn their Europa Conference League tie into a farce… don’t bank on them to do the right thing

By Joe Bernstein

The old adage ‘the show must go on’ is never truer than when TV and commercial rights are being considered.

In those cases, players, clubs and even a global pandemic are very much secondary in the thoughts of governing bodies like UEFA.

It’s still hard to reconcile the fact that Denmark’s stricken players were ordered to play or forfeit their game against Finland the same day their team-mate and friend collapsed and nearly lost his life.

Now the same kind of blinkered thinking by UEFA is threatening to turn Tottenham’s Europa Conference game against Rennes into a farce.

Never mind Spurs have a major outbreak of Covid that has seen eight players and five members of staff confirmed as having been infected, leaving manager Antonio Conte ‘scared’.

Never mind, the credibility of the UEFA’s new Europa Conference competition will be compromised if Spurs have to pick a severely weakened team.

Never mind if more Covid is spread in the name of sport with the UK already on a daily infection rate of 50,000.

Denmark's players had to play against Finland in Euro 2020 after Christian Eriksen collapsed

Denmark’s players had to play against Finland in Euro 2020 after Christian Eriksen collapsed

For UEFA, the show must go on, as it did in the summer when Danish manager Kasper Hjulmand said: ‘The players didn’t know if they lost their best friend. I have a feeling we shouldn’t have played, to just get on the bus and go home.’

Spurs may ask for Sunday’s Premier League fixture against Brighton to be postponed so it seems incredible for them to have to play on Thursday.

For UEFA to ask people coming out of a Covid workplace to play and mingle with international opposition is reckless, even for the benefit of a watching television audience.

But UEFA has previous in removing human concerns or common sense from situations. In 2017, the Borussia Dortmund bus was attacked en route to a Champions League tie against Monaco leaving Marc Bartra injured by the explosions. Dortmund were still told to play the game 24 hours later.

Governing bodies face complex challenges trying to ensure the smooth running of competitions across borders. It’s more difficult than ever in these current times.

Yet there has to remain some degree of responsibility and awareness. Regarding this Spurs-Rennes game, UEFA appears to be tone deaf.

To force a club to fulfil a fixture as long as they have 13 fit players – whilst gambling with the health of participants – is foolhardy if the instinct for wanting sport to continue is usually laudable.

This situation is not normal. Even UEFA need a cut-off line. It’s not too late for them to call the game off but that would mean doing the right thing – and they haven’t done so in the past. Ask the Danes.

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