Five Manchester City players are continuing to isolate and won’t be available for the game against Chelsea after contracting COVID-19, manager Pep Guardiola said on Friday.
Ahead of Sunday’s trip to Stamford Bridge, City have returned to training after the virus outbreak led to the postponement of Monday’s Premier League match against Everton.
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The club has only identified forward Gabriel Jesus and defender Kyle Walker as having contracted COVID-19.
“I don’t think the Premier League allow us to name the players but you will know tomorrow,” Guardiola told reporters on Friday.
“We had enough players to play against Everton, we wanted to play but, on the day of the game, with more cases we informed the Premier League and I personally called [Everton manager] Carlo Ancelotti to explain the situation.
“The day before we were in touch about what would happen and the huge risk… But now the training centre is disinfected and hopefully the next tests everyone is negative and the people that are positive can come back without problems.”
City returned to training on Wednesday after a deep clean but Guardiola said they had their problems as they prepared for Chelsea.
“You are less in touch. The players are not in the locker room anymore, they just train on the pitch,” Guardiola added.
“It is what it is. We have a good enough squad to go there and try to compete against a tough opponent in Chelsea. We are going there to play our game with enthusiasm and goodwill to try to do a good performance.”
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said on Friday that there have been a “couple” of positive cases among the club’s staff but players weren’t infected.
The Premier League has said it has no plans to suspend the competition despite rising infections nationally caused by a more transmissible variant of COVID-19.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho is unhappy with the league, criticising the late decision to postpone the match against Fulham around three hours before Wednesday’s 6 p.m. kickoff after a COVID-19 outbreak at their London rival.
“I felt [it was] unprofessional, but that is the way it was,” Mourinho said on Friday. “We were preparing ourselves for that match and of course we didn’t play and that is disruptive of what is a week of work.
“Training sessions before that would be different if we were going to play that game. People say good for me that there was no game, but only good for me if I knew there was no game.”
Tottenham host Leeds United next on Saturday.
Information from Reuters contributed to this report.