Coronavirus outbreak at Tottenham threatens crunch period

Tottenham Hotspur’s plans for a busy period of games have been hurt by a coronavirus outbreak at the club.

A number of first-team players and two members of the coaching staff have tested positive ahead of further PCR tests on Tuesday, the PA news agency understands.

With a must-win Europa Conference League game against Rennes on Thursday and then Premier League games at Brighton and Leicester, Spurs’ preparations look set to be severely impacted.

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They saw matches against Aston Villa and Fulham called off last season due to Covid-19, while two players posted false positive results on a lateral flow test earlier this term, but were later cleared to play by a negative PCR test.

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte will be hoping something similar happens again and that there are no more positive tests ahead of a crunch period.

Calling the Rennes game off appears highly unlikely as, according to UEFA rules, a team needs to have fewer than 13 available players or no registered goalkeeper available for that to be the case

If the situation does worsen, the club could consider asking the Premier League to call off the Brighton game on Sunday.

The league works on a case-by-case basis and if a club does request a game to be postponed, it would be a Premier League board decision.

Spurs are not commenting.

Meanwhile, Tottenham midfielder Oliver Skipp is determined to prove Conte right and become a mainstay at the north London club.

The Italian said Skipp has all the attributes to become a “top midfielder” after his performance against Brentford in midweek and he followed it up with another impressive display in the 3-0 win against Norwich on Sunday.

Skipp, who spent last season on loan at the Canaries, has been a regular this season, having been handed his opportunity by former boss Nuno Espirito Santo.

The 21-year-old is flattered by Conte’s compliment, but knows there is still work to do.

“It is always nice to hear that, but I have to go out and prove it, otherwise it is just words and there is no point,” Skipp said.

“I feel that there has definitely been a lot of improvement. I need to keep working and keep doing the things that I am doing and keep making those improvements.

“Hopefully that happens, but I know that it is a lot of hard work before that happens.

“I hope this proves that it was the right decision to stay and I feel I am ready to play for Spurs.

“You are never quite sure at the start of the season, but it was a big confidence boost to start the first game of the season and it was something I was looking to build on and hopefully keep building on.

“I always wanted to fight for my place here and I am very grateful of the year I had last year at Norwich, but there are still a lot of improvements to be made.”


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