Tottenham manager Antonio Conte has insisted the club’s COVID-19 problem is not over just because players affected have returned to training because they are lacking fitness due to isolation, which leave them potentially vulnerable to injuries.
Spurs have had recent games against Rennes and Brighton postponed because an outbreak in the squad, but Thursday night’s clash with Leicester looks like it will go ahead despite requests from both clubs to delay it rejected by the Premier League.
“For sure some players, they can’t play [on Thursday],” Conte said at his pre-match press briefing.
“Players are back in training and, today, two players are back in training for the first time. And another player yesterday. But they need to be fit to play. I will put these players on [from] the bench for 15-20 minutes at the end.”
The Italian said it is a problem not just affecting Spurs when players test positive for COVID-19.
“To bring these players affected by COVID to be fit and avoid injuries, this could be the big problem in the future – not the ten days [of isolation]. After ten days you have players available but then you have to pay attention to the way to train, whether the body is ready to work in a good way.
“You have to pay attention, moderate the training to avoid injuries. This is the big problem, not only for Tottenham but for other clubs with COVID-hit players.”
Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers spoke about the Premier League’s refusal to postpone this week’s game and Conte has said that he understands why the request was denied.
“The Premier League didn’t want to postpone the game against Leicester, maybe because we have to play against Burnley and Brighton. We postponed two games before. I can understand,” he said.