Although many things have normalized, Antonio Conte‘s positive Covid test reminds us that Tottenham Hotspur may not yet be done with the pandemic.
It has been an unbelievable couple of years worldwide due to Covid-19. This past season has been a real effort to return to some normalcy with the game, although that has been difficult at times and has cost Tottenham Hotspur.
Covid has already hit Tottenham hard
While not playing in Europe may be helping a thin team stay match-fit, the reality is, it was Covid-19 that took European football away from Tottenham. UEFA’s decision is their decision, but it would not have been necessary if not for Covid to begin with.
In the Europa Conference League instance, the problem was with Spurs and their own outbreak. Likewise, the Brighton match, recently made-up, was postponed due to a Covid outbreak within the Seagulls squad. Alternatively, Covid was just a convenient excuse for Arsenal to have the north London derby postponed.
One could even go as far as to say that Covid was a big part of the reason things fell apart so quickly for Nuno Espirito Santo when he lost the services of four players at once – three in defence – due to Covid rules.
The point is, without even considering the impact on the players’ health or their families, Covid has hit Tottenham hard this season.
Now Conte has tested positive, so clearly, Covid is not yet finished with Spurs.
Why Conte’s positive test is significant for Spurs
Given the changes in regulations and laws, it is possible that Conte is cleared and will be on the sideline Saturday afternoon as Brighton comes to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. However, there is also the possibility that he is not.
The idea that Conte could potentially be absent at such a crucial time in the season is a disturbing one. Fortunately, reports from the Athletic indicate no real symptoms, so things are looking up for Conte. So there will be no live pre-match press conference, but signs are pointing to Conte being with the team.
However, even if Conte is cleared and coaches, there is also the question of spreading Covid within the squad.
Given the way the virus spread through the team previously, we have to hope that this really is an isolated occurrence and that no one else on the team or coaching staff tests positive. Reports are that Conte is isolated from the team and staff. However, a postponement at this point in the season and in the pandemic seems unlikely, meaning a short-handed team without a coach would be a worst-case scenario.
Likely, Conte will be fine, and the team will be fully available – less Matt Doherty – but Covid is still there and has already taken Europe away for this season. The situation is just a reminder that anything can still happen off or on the pitch; we need to be ready.