London (AFP) – Leicester will be without seven players for Thursday’s decisive Europa League trip to Napoli due to coronavirus cases or illness, manager Brendan Rodgers revealed on Wednesday.
Extra measures to curb rates of Covid-19 infections in England, including the introduction of vaccine passports for the first time, were announced by the British government on Wednesday due to fears over a surge in cases of the Omicron variant.
A Covid outbreak has left Tottenham without eight players and five members of staff for their Europa Conference League tie with Rennes.
“We’ve had some positive cases, some are generally not well, so we haven’t taken the risk,” said Rodgers.
“We will have seven unavailable, something you’ll see in time. You’ll see in the training tonight the ones who haven’t travelled. It’s been last few days really. In general, you’re starting to see a few more cases and, for us, it’s always about the health of our players.
“Travelling to a foreign country, we have to respect travelling into Italy. We still have a strong squad here, but unfortunately it’s not a fully fit squad.”
Leicester top a fiercely competitive group heading into the final matchday with all four sides still having progress to the knockout stages in their own hands.
The Foxes lead Spartak Moscow and Napoli by one point with Legia Warsaw, who host Spartak, one point further behind.
Rodgers said Leicester could have waited a further 24 hours to check the status of the ill players who are yet to test positive, but have decided against doing so as a precaution.
“We’ve taken every single measure, in terms of arriving here in the safest possible way to our host country, we have to respect the laws and health issues here,” added the Northern Irishman.
“We’ve taken every measure to make sure everyone was tested.
“The players who were unwell who we could’ve have maybe given 24 hours to feel better, we couldn’t take any risk with those, so we’ve kept them at home along with the other guys who were deemed positive.”
The Premier League on Monday reported 12 new positive coronavirus tests out of 3,154 tests among players and club staff. That was the highest figure of positive cases since late August.
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