Nuno Has ‘Big Concerns’ After Two Players Tested Positive For Covid-19 At Tottenham

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Nuno Esprito Santo has called for an immediate solution to what he sees as the brutal demands of the international game on players, acknowledging that he has “big concerns” for Sunday’s trip to Newcastle after two of his players tested positive for Covid-19.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, like many of his Premier League contemporaries, has grown accustomed to receiving players returning from international service with reservations about their fitness and little or no time to work with them before the next match. Only four of his South American players are expected to report on Saturday.

Argentina’s Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso, as well as Brazil’s Emerson Royal, started World Cup qualifiers that began in the early hours of Friday UK time, while Colombia’s Davinson Sánchez was an unused member of the squad that played on Thursday night. On Friday, everyone flew to London. The club announced on Friday night that two players had tested positive for Covid-19 in the previous 24 hours and that both must now isolate for ten days, preventing them from playing in the St James’ Park match, the Europa Conference League match against Vitesse Arnhem, and the London derby against West Ham next weekend. The club is believed to be confident that no other players will be forced to isolate as a result of their close proximity.

Nuno referred to the previous Sunday’s home triumph over Aston Villa, which halted a three-game league losing sequence, as a “reference point.” However, he has been dissatisfied with how the international break has slowed his progress and put a strain on his selection.

“After the international break, there are always huge issues that happen,” Nuno said, when asked whether he had fitness concerns over and above those with the South Americans. “We have problems but I will not say before the game. You’re going to see that we have problems. We have small issues … big issues, if you want.

“If we could, we would repeat the same XI [as against Villa] because that’s the best way to start something. It will not be possible but then you have to try again, try again. We felt we were in a good place [after Villa] and we want to continue it from there. Then disruption, international break …

“What we want when players go to the national teams is for them to return healthy. We know that each moment, it is becoming harder for them. The schedule and the demands of club and national team are really, really high. Something has to be done so the players don’t spend so much time away from the clubs.”

source : Guardian sport

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