Coronavirus: La Liga clubs will need at least five weeks to prepare for return, says Lopetegui

Goal.com

Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui has warned La Liga that clubs will need at least five weeks' notice to prepare for a return to action following the suspension caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

La Liga has been on hiatus since early March due to Covid-19, which has been contracted by more people in Spain – almost 230,000 – than any other country in Europe.

More than 23,500 people in Spain have died after catching the virus, but Monday's death toll of 288 was the lowest it has been since March 20, and that followed the government's decision to begin easing lockdown measures on Sunday.

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The Primera Division's indefinite suspension was announced on March 23, but with signs of improvement in Spain, attentions are beginning to turn towards sport and a potential resumption of the football season.

League president Javier Tebas has expressed a desire to get the season under way once again behind closed doors, but with no specific dates put forward, Lopetegui is convinced clubs should be allowed a minimum of five weeks to get back in shape.

“The circumstances and guarantees have to be in place and then we have to have a certain amount of time,” Lopetegui, whose Sevilla side are third in La Liga, told Sport.

“The end of the season is going to be an experiment because we do not know what's going to happen. We have to be calm and wait, giving importance to public health.

Sevilla Osasuna LaLiga
Sevilla Osasuna LaLiga

“What I can assure is this will be nothing like a return after a summer break. Neither the form nor the mind is going to be 20 per cent of what it would be in a normal pre-season.

“We are clear on that. I think when the circumstances allow, with the guarantees from the government, a period of adaption will be necessary to preserve the other part of the health, not just the virus.

“Don't forget that in La Liga and the Segunda, everyone imagines [us having] big houses, but that's not the majority.

“We are all humans, with concerns, there have been cases [of the virus] in teams. All that's going on is not removed from any profession and it affects the players.

“We will have to speak about preparation time but, as a manager, I see we will need a minimum of five weeks to be in a situation where we can play every three days in a setting that no one has experienced before, not just playing behind closed doors, but after everything this nightmare has provoked. 

“We have to be in the best physical condition.”

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