EPL

Frank unsure on COVID-19 cancellation precedent amid doubts over Brentford-Man Utd

By Sports Desk December 13, 2021

Brentford boss Thomas Frank is unsure on the precedent for coronavirus cases within a squad leading to the cancellation of a Premier League game.

The Bees, who defeated Watford 2-1 on Friday thanks to last-gasp Bryan Mbeumo penalty, are set to host Manchester United on Tuesday.

However, Stats Perform understands United saw a small number of positive tests returned among players and staff after they returned from Saturday's 1-0 win at Norwich City.

The entire group that travelled to Carrow Road for Saturday's match had returned negative results in a round of routine testing.

Individuals who returned positive lateral flow test results on Sunday were sent home before training, which was then adjusted to consist of outdoor individual and non-contact sessions. The club are understood to have notified the Premier League.

It remains to be seen whether Tuesday's game goes ahead as scheduled. Sunday's match between Brighton and Hove Albion and Tottenham was postponed after Spurs suffered a COVID-19 outbreak that also led to their Europa Conference League game with Rennes being called off.

Frank, who has been without star man Ivan Toney for the last two games due to the striker contracting coronavirus, believes clarity is needed on the exact number of cases that would result in a postponement.

He told a news conference: "We are planning to play the game, that's what we are focusing on, we can't control anything else.

"I think it'd need to be a significant amount of COVID cases for the game to be cancelled. Myself, I'm a little bit in doubt because when is it enough cases for the game to be cancelled? But I guess that the Tottenham situation is the precedent that we are going for.

"I think it's a very tricky situation and it's very important that all of us are following the rules and restrictions. If they can make it very clear what the rules are for cancelling games, then that would be good.

"Of course, I don't know the number for cancellations. Maybe I'm not updated enough, but I could only read that it was eight players and five backroom staff [at Tottenham]. I do not know if it's the total amount, or the eight players that was enough to close down the training ground and postpone the two games.

"If that's the situation, that's the marker we need to go for going forward. Anything less than that, we need to carry on."

Asked if there was a chance the Premier League may have to be suspended over the coming weeks, Frank replied: "I'm 100 per cent sure that the Premier League can continue through the winter, no doubt. We have the vaccines, the boosters, we will continue."

Though United may well be missing players should the game go ahead, Frank good-naturedly dismissed the suggestion that would make the challenge any easier for Brentford.

"We are just missing last year's top scorer, one of our best centre-backs and I think we are playing one of the biggest clubs in the world," he said.

"Decent players, what is he called, number seven, [Cristiano] Ronaldo… [Marcus] Rashford, [Bruno] Fernandes, maybe the most creative player in the Premier League in the last two years. I think it'll even it up."

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