By Jonathan Veal, PA
Tottenham have been hit by fresh coronavirus concerns ahead of their Carabao Cup semi-final first leg at Chelsea.
Spurs already had an outbreak that affected nine first-team players in December and saw two games called off, but boss Antonio Conte says there are now another couple of potential issues in the camp.
They are waiting for results of PCR tests, while Conte is also hoping there are no further new positive tests on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s trip to the European champions.
“We are checking a couple of situations, we’ll see,” he said. “We are checking a couple of situations about Covid. Yeah, players. We didn’t do this (name them) in the past and we will continue to do this in the same way.
“We are not 100 per cent sure they will miss the game.
“We have to check and also during the day, if there are new positives or not, we’re checking a couple of situations.
“Then tomorrow we’ll see which players are available to play against Chelsea.
“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.
“For sure it’s not simple for any coach to change the plan you have in your mind, especially when you play many games in a short time.
“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.”
— Carabao Cup (@Carabao_Cup) January 3, 2022
The Carabao Cup again presents a decent chance for Spurs to end their trophy drought, though a two-legged tie against their London rivals is a big obstacle.
Former Chelsea boss Conte is well-versed at winning silverware, having done so in almost every job he has been in, and knows the importance of bringing success to the club.
“I think that for everyone it’s always very important to win trophies – for the club, for the players, for the managers,” he said.
“On one hand, I have to tell you this. On the other, I think you have to build to win trophies. You can win trophies by speaking and saying you want to win.
“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.
“But I repeat: to use this verb or word ‘to win’ is more simple than winning, because to win you have to build something important, be solid, have an important squad.
“Then you’re ready to win. Otherwise you have to hope. To hope in your work you’re doing and hope to do something outstanding.”
Wednesday’s match will be Conte’s first return to Stamford Bridge since he was sacked in 2018 despite winning the Premier League and the FA Cup in his two years in charge.
“For me, for sure it’ll be great to come back to Stamford Bridge,” the Italian said.
“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.
“Now, for sure, I’m the manager of Tottenham and I want to give this club 100 per cent and more to try to improve the team. It’ll be good and for sure I’ll have emotion to come back to Stamford Bridge.”
As well as possible Covid cases, Spurs will be without Cristian Romero, Ryan Sessegnon (both hamstring) and Steven Bergwijn (calf).