Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhüttl has confirmed Danny Ings tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this month and may have been contagious when he scored the winning goal against Liverpool on Monday 4 January.
The England striker is in the 10th day of isolation (on Thursday) and will likely miss Saturday’s game at Leicester.
Ings scored against his old club with a brilliant lob early in their last game, but Hasenhüttl says he may have been carrying coronavirus, having returned a positive test shortly after the game. Goalkeeper Alex McCarthy missed the match, as he also had Covid-19.
“In the game, maybe he (Ings) was contagious, I think you can be 48 hours before a positive test,” he said.
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“We had no further positive tests so far, so that means that the protocols we are sticking to, that we really follow in a very disciplined way, are definitely good.
When you stick to these guidelines, you can work like we do every day together, celebrate together. You never know, but this showed me that when you stick to the protocols, you control the risk.
“That’s the reason why the Premier League decided to let us play football. For me, part of football is a duel, part of football is celebrating when you score a goal, and I think the protocols and the experience we made so far shows that it works”.
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One MP, Julian Knight, has called celebrations of footballers hugging after goals “brainless”, but Hasenhüttl thinks it’s okay if clubs are sticking to the rules. After their FA Cup third round tie with Shrewsbury was postponed last weekend, he's questioned why there have been some outbreaks among teams.
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“You have to know why they cancelled the game,” said the Southampton boss.
“Maybe they immediately had 10 infections, and then maybe everything wasn’t perfect with their protocols, being disciplined enough with the protocols. When you do this, there are some reasons why we are playing football right now.
“For us, it is definitely possible to celebrate together. I know it is never without a risk, but I think we have shown when we are disciplined that it works. As long as you do this, I see no reason why we shouldn’t continue to be honest.”