After two and a half years living with the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and seeing it upend society, it’s awfully tempting to try and forget that it’s still a presence and a factor not only in football but in our general lives. Tottenham Hotspur got another reminder of that this past weekend. Reports are emerging in the English media, including The Athletic, football.london, and the Evening Standard, that Antonio Conte tested positive for COVID this weekend after the Aston Villa match.
The club says that Conte has been “distancing” himself from players and staff while symptomatic, but expects him to be well enough to lead Tottenham out at home against Brighton & Hove Albion this coming Saturday.
So this is a good reminder that we’re still in a pandemic and that, while things feel more manageable while we attempt to live with this virus, it’s a thing that still exists. Spurs probably didn’t need that reminder — it was only a couple weeks ago that Spurs Women postponed two matches, including the North London Derby, due to an outbreak of COVID within the squad.
Thankfully, it does appear that Conte is doing well and is expected to recover. If for whatever reason he’s not able to go on Saturday, it’d be interesting to see who takes control of the team for the Brighton match. Most likely it would Cristian Stellini, Conte’s long-term top assistant and someone who would be very familiar with The Patterns™.
The Standard reported that Conte’s usual press conference ahead of the Brighton match on Thursday will take place virtually rather than in person.