Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has pleaded with fans not to victimise unvaccinated Premier League players.
The Blues squad still contains players yet to have Covid-19 vaccinations, but the majority are protected against the virus.
The European champions head into Wednesday’s League Cup quarter-final at Brentford without as many as eight top players ruled out after positive tests.
Tuchel oversaw training with N'Golo Kante, Reece James, Cesar Azpilicueta and the remaining fit players the night before the game and revealed some of those who have tested positive are double-jabbed and still managed to contract Covid.
Tuchel has insisted all along that the decision to take up the vaccine must remain a personal choice.
“Covid is obviously causing us an issue, but it’s not that we have all unvaccinated infected,” he said. “We have vaccinated players who are positive.
“I don’t want to get involved in pointing fingers and starting the hunt for non-vaccinated people. This is a choice to make. Leave it there.”
Chelsea will dip into their vast academy talent pool to plug the Covid gaps for the Brentford trip.
Kai Havertz, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ben Chilwell will all be missing again.
Lewis Baker would have been among the academy talents on view in west London, only to return a positive test.