Tottenham manager Antonio Conte confirmed that eight players and five staff members tested positive for the coronavirus following an outbreak at the club – and more confirmed cases are expected. The Spurs, however, will have to play their Conference League match against Rennes on Thursday, with strict Uefa rules regarding the minimum number of players available. It is unclear whether the club will ask for a postponement of the Premier League match in Brighton on Sunday.
“Eight players and five staff members,” Conte said in a press conference held virtually at the club’s Hotspur Way training center. Every day we have people with Covid, people who weren’t positive yesterday. This is not a good situation ». Conte was supposed to be joined by Danish Spurs midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg at the pre-match press conference, but instead faced the media alone. The Italian coach said: «Talking about football today is impossible. The last situation has very upset me. The situation is serious. There is a big contagion. We are preparing for the match against Rennes, but it is very difficult. Once again at the end of the session, one positive (tested) player, another positive (member) staff – tomorrow, who (will be)? Now, for sure, we are a bit scared because tomorrow we don’t know what will happen ».
A worried Count admitted that the situation is “so strange and incredible”, adding that “this certainly pains me because I’m here to talk about football, my players and the atmosphere I want to see tomorrow. Instead, let’s talk about the people who have Covid ». Conte was unable to confirm if it was the Omicron variant at the center of the outbreak, but he confirmed he was vaccinated. Referring to the adoption of vaccination within his team, the Spurs manager said: “I think everyone makes (their) best decision and it’s a question for the medical department about who is vaccinated or not.”