Tottenham face game chaos after Europa League game with Rennes dark in farce after Covid outbreak
Tottenham Hotspur are facing a stack of matches after canceling their Europa Conference League fixture against Rennes due to the coronavirus outbreak which Antonio Conte said had left him and his players “scared”.
Last night, Spurs had eight first-team players ruled out with coronavirus, as well as nine staff and under-23 players, at least two of whom had trained with the first team.
Following crisis talks with UEFA, Spurs say the game against Rennes has been postponed and the first-team area of ââthe club’s training ground has been closed, sparking an argument with the club French at the time of the announcement.
Tottenham are now expected to apply to the Premier League to have Sunday’s trip to Brighton postponed as well, after seeing their recent game against Burnley postponed due to heavy snowfall.
Although Spurs and Conte are delighted that common sense has prevailed in the Rennes game, the club are now faced with a stack of matches, both nationally and in Europe.
A statement from Spurs, which was issued less than 24 hours before they were due to entertain Rennes, said: “We can confirm that our UEFA Europa Conference League Group G home game against Stade Rennais did not will not take place tomorrow after a number of positive Covid -19 cases at the club. Discussions are underway with UEFA and we will provide further update on this game in due course.
“In addition, following discussions with the Health Security Agency [formerly Public Health England] and DCMS advisers, the club was advised to close the first teams area of ââits training center.
However, Rennes, who had already visited London, accused Spurs of having taken the plunge with the postponement.
“[This] UEFA’s unilateral decision has not been confirmed by UEFA in any way, “said a statement from Rennes.” Faced with this ‘London fog’, we reserve the right to approach UEFA.
Tottenham are now expected to apply to the Premier League to have Sunday’s trip to Brighton postponed as well, having already seen their match against Burnley postponed due to heavy snowfall.
Leicester City have also been hit hard, with seven first-team players excluded from their Europa League game in Napoli. Kelechi Iheanacho, Ademola Lookman, Ayoze Perez, Jannik Vestergaard, Daniel Amartey, Filip Benkovic and Vontae Daley-Campbell all had to stay in England.
For Spurs, midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was to join Conte in the pre-Rennes press conference, but the Italian appeared on his own and said: big infection and now for sure we have a little fear.
âThe problem is, every day we have people with Covid. People who yesterday weren’t positive today are positive, and we continue to have contact with people we think are negative, but the next day they turn positive.
âI think it’s a serious problem. Today, a player and a member of the staff.
âThe worst thing is that we don’t know and that we continue to have contact with people who, the day before, were negative. And that’s for sure not a good situation.
âWe had a workout. We prepared for the match against Rennes, but it’s very difficult to face again at the end of training, a positive player, another positive staff member and tomorrow who? Me? Another player? Another staff member?
Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers has said his players will try to disrupt their plans in stride. They were already deprived of the injured trio of Wesley Fofana, Ricardo Pereira and James Justin.
âIt’s not going to destabilize us,â Rodgers said, âit’s just not nice when you don’t have the availability of players added to those who weren’t anyway.
âWe have taken all measures to get here in the safest way possible – first for our own group and also for our host country, we also have to respect the laws and health issues here.
âIt’s been a few days since you started to see a few more cases. “
Leicester will face Napoli as Group C leaders and victory will secure them a place in the round of 16, but a loss and victory for Spartak Moscow or Legia Warsaw would knock them out of the competition.
They will however be strengthened by the return of Youri Tielemans, who traveled to Napoli after missing the last five matches with a calf injury.
When asked if he had a message for the governing bodies, Conte said, “I don’t think I have to message anyone because the situation is very clear.”
Rodgers has said he will keep a close watch on the fitness of his players ahead of Sunday’s home game against Newcastle.
West Ham United are also in action Thursday night as they entertain Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League as they seek to finish undefeated in their squad, having already secured the top spot.