London (AFP) – Tottenham have been hit by fresh coronavirus concerns ahead of their League Cup semi-final first leg at Chelsea on Wednesday.
Spurs already had an outbreak that affected nine first-team players in December and saw three games called off, but manager Antonio Conte said on Monday there are now another couple of potential cases in the camp.
The club are waiting for results of PCR tests, while Conte is also hoping there are no further new positive tests on Tuesday ahead of their trip to the European champions.
“We are checking a couple of situations about Covid,” said Conte at his pre-match press conference.
“We are living with this situation, not only Tottenham but all the clubs. We have to be ready to find always the right solutions, the best solution for the team.
“You make a plan in your mind and sometimes you arrive and players are positive so you have to totally change your plan. It’s not easy, but not only for me but all the managers here.”
A total of 18 Premier League games have been postponed over the past month due to outbreaks across a number of squads.
Despite registering a record 103 positive cases among players and staff last week, the English top-flight has insisted on playing on where possible through the spike in infections caused by the Omicron variant of the virus.
The League Cup semi-finals have remained two-legged ties despite the pleas of Conte and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, whose side face Arsenal in the other last four clash, to be changed to one-off games.
Tottenham have not won any trophy since 2008 and ending that drought would be the perfect start to Conte’s reign in charge after being appointed in November.
But the Italian believes it will take time before he can be expected to deliver silverware.
“I think that for everyone it’s always very important to win trophies – for the club, for the players, for the managers,” he added.
“But then you have to be good and build something ready to win. At this moment, Chelsea is more ready than us to win. They won the Champions League last season.
“We have a lot of space for improvement, to be a team with aspiration to win. Then for sure, we’ll do everything to reach the final of this trophy.”
Conte will return to Stamford Bridge for the first time since he was sacked by Chelsea four years ago.
He won the Premier League and FA Cup in his two seasons in charge of the Blues.
“For me, for sure it’ll be great to come back to Stamford Bridge,” said Conte.
“It’s the first time after I left Chelsea as manager to come back to Stamford Bridge. I spent two amazing seasons, I created a lot of friendships at the club, we did a really important, good job and I enjoyed working there.
“Also because I have to thank Chelsea because they gave me the possibility to work in England and have my first experiences in England.”
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