Antonio Conte admits Covid outbreak has left everyone at Tottenham Hotspur 'scared'

Spurs look set to play Europa Conference League tie with Rennes despite eight players and five staff members testing positive

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte says he is down his last 11 players for the Europa Conference League match with Rennes. PA
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Antonio Conte has said that everyone at Tottenham Hotspur is “scared” because of a Covid outbreak that leaves him struggling to field a team for Thursday's Europa Conference League tie with Rennes.

Eight players and five staff members have tested positive for Covid-19 but the number is growing by the day and Conte, who believes it is a major problem, is wondering if he will be the next to be affected.

The Italian said he is down to his last 11 players for a game when Tottenham could be knocked out of Europe. Uefa regulations mean clubs have to play games if they have 13 players, including a goalkeeper, available but while Thursday’s match is set to go ahead, Tottenham are expected to ask the Premier League for a postponement of Sunday’s clash with Brighton.

“To speak about football today is impossible,” said Conte. “Eight players and five members of staff [have tested positive] but the problem is that every day we're having people with Covid, people that yesterday weren't positive and today are, and we're continuing to have contact with. It's a serious problem.

“Today another player and another member of staff positive. Tomorrow, who? Me? Another member of staff? I want to speak about football. This is not a good thing for you, the fans and staff.

“Everyone is a bit scared, we all have families. I ask why? Why? Yesterday we trained and two positives, today we trained and after another two positives. Who next? It's not right. We're going home to our families. The situation has made me very upset. The situation is not clear or easy for everyone.”

Conte’s plans for the match have been affected as more players have been ruled out and he added: “We have prepared for the game against Rennes but it is difficult. By the end of the training session today one of the players who would start tomorrow is now positive. It's scary. We're all having contact. Now we have only 11 players available.”

Conte, who cut short his press conference to preview the game, said he was vaccinated but added: “I think everyone takes the best decision.” He was asked if the cases are from the new, more transmissible Omicron variant and replied: “This is a question for the doctor and medical department.”

Tottenham were already without the suspended Ryan Sessegnon and the injured Cristian Romero for the match with the French side, who have already won Group G.

Spurs, who are level on points with Vitesse Arnhem, require victory to guarantee second place in the pool, though that would give them a further two games in a play-off round to reach the last 16.

They have a crowded fixture list and already have to rearrange their Premier League match with Burnley, which was postponed because of snow at Turf Moor.

Updated: December 08, 2021, 3:38 PM