Antonio Conte has admitted that figures at Tottenham Hotspur are “a bit scared” by the increase in coronavirus cases among the squad and staff.
Eight Tottenham players and five members of staff have tested positive for Covid-19. The situation has prompted concerns for their ability to fulfil upcoming fixtures. Next on the agenda is a Europa Conference League clash with Rennes on Thursday.
Following the crucial European match, their next Premier League game is against Brighton on Sunday. There have been reports they could ask for it to be postponed.
The situation seems to be escalating and head coach Conte admitted they have a “serious” problem on their hands.
Although he would rather have focused on the football, much of his press conference in view of the Rennes clash was dominated by discussion of their Covid situation.
“The problem is that everyday we are having people with Covid,” he said of their large number of positive cases. “People that yesterday weren’t positive, today were positive and we continue to have contact with people we think are negative but the day after become positive.
“I think this is a serious problem, and it’s a pity because during the press conference I’d like to talk about football and the next game and not about Covid.
“But the situation is serious. Everyday we are having positives. Today one player and one member of staff.
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“I think the worst is we don’t know and we continue to have contact with people that the day before weren’t negative. For sure this is not a good situation. We have a training session to prepare for the game against Rennes, but it’s very difficult.
“At the end of the training session today, again one player positive. Another member of staff is positive. Tomorrow who? Me? Another player? Another member of staff? And we continue in this way.”
Conte: ‘We are a bit scared’
The conversation also turned to the topic of asking for postponements. However, Conte did not want to go into detail. Instead, he reiterated the concern spreading at the club.
“There are situations that made me very, very upset, very upset because the situation is serious and it is contagious and there is a big infection and now for sure we are a bit scared because tomorrow we don’t know what happens,” he added.
Elaborating on how the issue has disrupted their preparation for the Rennes game, Conte revealed they have lost a player they had made use of in training.
“It is very strange and not good to live now this situation with all,” he said.
“We are trying to think only football. Today we prepared the game against Rennes and we had one and a half hours of training session and planned to have a session in the morning to prepare the set pieces but then I finish the training session and another player and member of staff to add to the list, players you have had contact with today.”
Asked if it was the most difficult week he had ever had to prepare for a match, the experienced coach said: “Yes but surely it is difficult.
“But now we have 11 players available and today we prepared the game with one player that should play then we finished the session and this player was positive.
“It is not simple.”