Tottenham manager Antonio Conte said on Wednesday that eight players and five members of staff had tested positive for the coronavirus and expected more confirmed cases. Spurs are due to play a crucial Europa Conference League game against Rennes on Thursday and UEFA has said the match will take place as scheduled. It is unclear whether the club will ask for the postponement of their Premier League match in Brighton on Sunday. “Eight players and five members of staff,” Conte said in a press conference that was held virtually, rather than in person, at the club’s Hotspur Way training centre.
“Every day we have people with COVID who weren’t positive yesterday. It’s not a good situation.”
Conte was supposed to be joined by Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Hjberg at a pre-match press conference, but instead faced the media on his own.
“It is impossible to speak about football today,” said the Italian, who became Spurs boss last month. “The last situation bothered me a lot.
“The situation is dire. There is a big infection. We prepare for the game against Rennes, but it is very difficult.
“At the end of the season, one player (tested) positive, the other staff (member) positive – tomorrow, who (it will be)?
“Now, of course, we’re a little scared because tomorrow we don’t know what will happen.”
The coronavirus pandemic forced football largely behind closed doors last season, but the entire crowd has returned to English football during the current campaign, even as the level of COVID-19 infections remains high.
The Premier League on Monday reported 12 new positive coronavirus tests out of 3,154 tests among players and club staff. This was the highest figure since the end of August.
The new Omicron variant has sparked global concern over indications that it may transmit faster than previous strains and fears that many of its mutations may help it evade the immune protection provided by vaccines. There is no death associated with the version yet.
‘Weird and unbelievable’
An emotional Conte admitted that the situation was “so strange and unbelievable”.
The Italian said: “It definitely bothers me because I am here to talk about football, our players and the environment I want to see tomorrow. Instead we are talking about those Those who have Kovid.”
Conte was not able to confirm whether it was the Omicron variant at the center of the outbreak, but confirmed that he had been vaccinated.
Referring to taking vaccinations within his squad, the Spurs boss said: “I think everyone makes (their own) best decisions and there is a question for the medical department about whether people have been vaccinated or not. No.”
Raines has already reached the last 16 of the Conference League as group winners, while Tottenham are currently leading Vitesse on overall goal difference in the fight for second place.
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