Tottenham are sold a dummy! Antonio Conte reveals Spurs are training with MANNEQUINS because so few players are available in Covid-hit squad…as his stricken side face daunting clash with free-scoring Liverpool
- Antonio Conte is using mannequins in training to make up for a lack of numbers
- Spurs had their last three games called off due to Covid but will face Liverpool
- The Italian shed light on the disturbances as Spurs closed their training ground
- Conte called for unity among Premier League clubs as Covid wreaks havoc
Antonio Conte has resorted to using mannequins in training to make up for a lack of numbers in his Covid-hit squad ahead of Sunday’s daunting encounter with Liverpool.
The Tottenham boss was diplomatic on Friday, saying his side were ready to play if the Premier League decided that was best and that vaccinations are a personal decision.
But he did shed light on the last fortnight’s disturbances as Spurs closed their training ground after nine players tested positive for Covid, along with multiple staff and Under 23 players.
Antonio Conte has to use mannequins in Tottenham training to make up the numbers
Tottenham have been forced to take alternative measures after Covid stripped them of players
‘For three days we didn’t have a training session and then we had a training session with only 10, 12 players,’ said Conte, who added morale was ‘very, very down’ at the club.
‘It wasn’t easy to face this situation and to train the players. To have 12 players is very difficult. Usually, if you want to try a formation, you need 20 players and it’s not simple to do this. You have to train with mannequins and I stopped. It’s not easy. It’s not the same.’
On Sunday Spurs host Liverpool, two weeks since their last outing in a 3-0 win over Norwich. In that time their Premier League games against Brighton and Leicester were postponed, while their Europa Conference League clash with Rennes was also called off.
Conte says even with the players who previously tested positive for Covid coming back, he must be cautious.
Spurs’ Covid-hit squad now face a daunting encounter on Sunday with free-scoring Liverpool
‘You have to pay great attention,’ said the manager. ‘You can’t give them the same amount of work as other players. If you want everything too soon, you risk injuries. In this situation, you have to take the risk and, at the same time, pay great attention. They need time to be fit.’
Conte called for unity among Premier League clubs, adding: ‘We are in a time when the best solution is to collaborate, to try not to stop football, to try not to close again the stadiums.’ The Italian also stated he wanted his players to take the coronavirus vaccine but insisted it should be a personal choice.
‘Every single person at Tottenham or at other clubs has to take the decision for himself,’ he said. ‘I’ve been vaccinated and my family, my daughter and wife, they did the same. But it is a personal matter.’
Conte said players must be careful to avoid Covid but that vaccination is a personal choice
His view differs from Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp who insisted Premier League stars should feel morally obliged to have the coronavirus vaccine.
‘It’s a question of persuading,’ said the Liverpool boss. ‘From a moral point of view, it should be mandatory for each person I think but that’s not from a legal point of view if that makes sense.
‘I’m 54 years old — and I am really a big believer that you can convince people about the right things to do but I’m not sure in this specific case.
‘England is a much better place vaccination-wise than Germany is, for example.
‘And it is unbelievable how aggressive the anti-vax scene is and how clear they are with all the things, they obviously know better than the rest of us, it is really tricky. I don’t think it should be mandatory legally but morally yes.’
Jurgen Klopp insisted Premier League stars should feel morally obliged to have the vaccine
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