Norwich boss Dean Smith attacks ‘LUNACY’ of two games in 48 hours while Premier League clubs are suffering with Covid outbreaks and questions ‘integrity of the competition’
- Managers are pushing back on hectic festive schedule with Covid outbreaks
- Norwich had their game against West Ham called off last weekend
- Dean Smith’s side host Arsenal on Sunday and Crystal Palace two days later
- Boss described it as ‘lunacy’ and is unsure how many players will be out
Norwich head coach Dean Smith feels it is ‘lunacy’ to expect teams to play two games in 48 hours as clubs continue to be hit by coronavirus outbreaks.
The Canaries’ Premier League match at West Ham was called off last weekend because of the on-going Covid-19 issues, with just four of the scheduled 10 top-flight games able to be played as scheduled.
Liverpool’s clash with Leeds and Watford’s trip to Wolves on Boxing Day have both now been postponed.
Dean Smith questions the integrity of the Premier League schedule during Covid outbreaks
The Canaries face Arsenal and then Crystal Palace in the space of just 48 hours
Norwich are set to host Arsenal on Sunday, and then play Crystal Palace on December 28. Smith, though, believes that is an unreasonable expectation.
‘We have some fresh cases, but we have got others coming back. We are not sure how many will miss Boxing Day,’ he said.
‘We are having to push rehab forward and people are breaking down in rehab because of that, it is asking massive questions of everybody’s squads at the moment.
‘It is lunacy that we are having to play two games in 48 hours.
Smith says he is having to risk the health and fitness of players during the busy period
‘There has got to be a question about the integrity of the competition when teams are playing weakened teams against other teams and it is affecting league positions.’
Smith had requested Norwich’s previous game against his former club Aston Villa also be called off because of Covid-19 issues and injuries in the squad.
The Norwich boss revealed he felt ‘it was bordering on negligent’ for him having to field the likes of Sam Byram who was rushed back into action following a lengthy injury lay-off when sent on as an emergency substitute during the 2-0 defeat.
‘I think we are in a dangerous situation now, where we are risking the health and welfare of the players,’ said Smith.
Norwich are bottom of the Premier League and face a fight for survival this season