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- Italian association football player and manager
Tottenham manager Antonio Conte has confirmed eight players and five members of staff have tested positive for coronavirus following an outbreak at the club – and he expects more confirmed cases.
Spurs will, however, have to play their crunch Europa Conference League game against Rennes on Thursday night, with UEFA rules much stricter regarding the minimum number of players available.
It remains unclear whether the club will ask for their Premier League match at Brighton on Sunday to be postponed.
“Eight players and five members of staff,” Conte said at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, which was held virtually rather than in person at the club’s Hotspur Way training centre.
“Every day we are having people with Covid, people who were not positive yesterday. This is not a good situation.”
Conte was supposed to be joined by Spurs’ Danish midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg at the pre-match press conference, but instead faced the media on his own.
The Italian said: “To speak about football today is impossible. The last situation made me very upset.
“The situation is serious. There is a big infection.
“We prepare for the game against Rennes, but it is very difficult.
“Again at the end of the session, one player (tested) positive, another staff (member) positive – tomorrow, who (will it be)?
“Now, for sure, we are a bit scared because tomorrow we don’t know what happens.”
An emotional Conte admitted the situation was “so strange and incredible”.
The Italian added: “This for sure makes me upset because I am here to talk about football, about my players and the atmosphere that I want to see tomorrow. Instead we are talking about the people that have Covid.”
Conte was not able to confirm whether it was the Omicron variant at the centre of the outbreak, but confirmed he had been vaccinated.
Referring to vaccination take-up within his squad, the Spurs boss said: “I think everyone takes (their own) best decision and is a question for the medical department about people that whether they are vaccinated or not.”