London (AFP) – Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho believes bringing football back, even behind closed doors, would be a much-needed morale boost for fans starved of action during the coronavirus crisis.
No Premier League games have been played since March 9 due to the pandemic, which has claimed more than 26,000 British lives.
Dutch football chiefs have called an end to the Eredivisie season while French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu on Thursday called for the French league to end the Ligue 1 season.
England’s top-flight clubs are due to meet on Friday with “Project Restart” at the top of their agenda. They will discuss how they can complete the season despite the logistical difficulties.
“I miss football,” Mourinho told Sky Sports from the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, which has been transformed to house a testing centre, outpatient services for a local hospital and a food distribution hub.
“But I prefer to say I miss our world, like I think we all do. Football is just part of my world. But we have to be patient, this is a fight that we all have to fight.”
Even if matches can return, they will be played behind closed doors for the foreseeable future to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.
Mourinho, though, believes players will still be putting on a show for millions watching around the world.
“If we play the remaining nine matches this season it will be good for every one of us,” he said. “It will be good for football, for the Premier League.
“If we play football behind closed doors I’d like to think that football is never behind closed doors.
“With cameras, it means that millions and millions are watching. So if one day we walk into this empty stadium, it will not be empty, not at all.”
– Kane back? –
Prior to the shutdown, Mourinho said he could not wait for the season to end due to a debilitating list of injuries.
Yet Spurs could make a late run to finish in the top four should the campaign get back under way, with Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko, Steven Bergwijn and Son Heung-min — who is completing a short period of national service — now recovered from injury.
“They are recovered from their injuries, so Harry Kane is not injured, Moussa Sissoko is not injured, Steven Bergwijn is not injured, but it is one thing not to be injured, it’s another thing to be ready to play football,” Mourinho added.
“For them it is many, many, many weeks of injury and when the injuries were almost at an end, we stopped training.
“I don’t know, they don’t know, we have to wait for the official and right permission for the players to train again in groups to see if they can come back to a normal competition level.”
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