Antonio Conte delivers Tottenham injury update ahead of Leicester match for Lo Celso and Romero



Antonio Conte has been detailing the problems that will come in the wake of Tottenham’s Covid outbreak as well as delivering an update on the club’s injured players.

Spurs had nine first team players testing positive and five members of the coaching staff, as well as a number of the U23s development squad.

Tottenham will return to action on Thursday night with a trip to Leicester City for a match that both clubs asked the Premier League to postpone.

The Foxes did so due to their own struggles with Covid, illness and injuries, with nine players set to be out, while Spurs wanted to play their previously called off Europa Conference League match against Rennes this week.

However, the Premier League were wary of the north London side already having their postponed Burnley and Brighton away fixtures to fit in somewhere and the request from both clubs was rejected.

“I don’t know about the Leicester situation but if it is true that nine players for Leicester are out it means it will be a strange game with two teams affected by Covid,” said Conte.

“Now, we have to do what the Premier League tells us to do. I think this is now time to try a solution. I don’t know. Last week I was frustrated and I was nervous to have every single day players with Covid made me very upset and now we have not got any players with Covid. We are having problems post-Covid. Obviously if I compare this week to last week, now we are back.”

Some of the affected Spurs players suffered with the symptoms, although thankfully not to the point of requiring hospital treatment, but the Italian is concerned about the time it will take for some of them to get back to full fitness.

“For the players that were with Covid, they did not have serious symptoms and this is good for the players,” he said. “Honestly, I think [what happens next] is the big problem now, because when you have Covid and you have ten days and you stay at home and usually after ten days you become negative.

“The problem is the way that Covid affects your body and surely we have to pay great attention to have the right training sessions.

“I think that not many people know very well the time that the players or the body of the player needs to recover well to feel 100 per cent. This is the problem not only for Tottenham’s players but for all the players in the whole world, but at the same time, when you have a squad of 20 players and nine of them have Covid, it is normal that I am a bit worried.

“There are many problems during the season and this is a big problem but we want to face it in the right way and overcome this problem and overcome this situation.”

Conte was asked about the strength of the squad he will take to the King Power Stadium on Thursday evening.

“We have the players who weren’t affected by Covid and then now there are three more, who before they were with Covid,” he said.

“It’s not an easy situation but I repeat during the season we have to know that there are moments you have to face that are with the problems.

“You must be very good to face this problem and overcome this problem. For sure Covid for us, it’s a big problem but at the same time, we have to face it in a strong way and try to do our best in this strange situation.”

On injuries, he added: “No, no injuries [apart from] Romero, and good news is that Giovani Lo Celso is available and he started to train with us from Sunday.

“Now we have only Romero injured and we hope for Cristian to recover very soon. You know that injury is a serious injury and I understand also the frustration of the player, that he doesn’t have the opportunity to play but Cristian has to be calm and to recover in the right way because we need him.”

The Tottenham boss has faith in his players that they will be careful outside the club’s walls with record numbers of Covid cases across the country and the new Omicron variant.

“I think, honestly, that the players are very intelligent to understand the situation, that this virus is going on again and we have to pay attention because no-one wants to stop games and to stop the people to go to the stadium,” said Conte.

“I think my players are so intelligent to understand this. I don’t think that I need to inform them about this situation, to pay attention. I think it’s normal to be patient for you and for your family because we all have family and we don’t want to affect other people.

“For sure we have to pay great attention because the situation is much worse if you compare to the past, but at the same time I think we are in the right time to find a solution, to pay more attention, especially as no-one wants to stop the league, no-one wants to stop to play, no-one wants to stop the people coming to the stadium.”

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Spurs are waiting to hear their fate in the Europa Conference League with their match against Rennes needing to be called off last week.

Following discussions with the Health Security Agency and government advisers, Tottenham were advised to close the first team area of their Hotspur Way training complex ahead of the game.

Spurs have been doing everything possible to try to get the European match played and are believed to have offered Rennes and UEFA every feasible date to get the game on, even offering to travel to France to play it if necessary.

Conte believes the fact that the outbreak was spreading rapidly throughout the club and the government advised the closure of the first team section of the training ground means Tottenham should not be removed from the competition for something beyond their control.

“The situation is very, very clear. Everybody can see the situation. The government stopped our training sessions and shut our training centre,” he said.

“In this way it is impossible to play a game for this reason and we deserve to play the last game of our group.

“Tottenham deserves to play this game [against Rennes]. It was not our fault but for the Covid situation and the government decided in the right way to stop our activities otherwise we would have risked all the people who worked here to get Covid.”





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