Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl reveals his players are changing in their cars and taking PACKED LUNCHES to training as Saints bid to limit Covid transmission amid Omicron surge in football
- Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has told of the new changes to limit Covid
- Premier League clubs have been hit by outbreaks of Covid cases in recent weeks
- The Saints are yet to be affected but strict measures have been implemented
- Players change in their cars and are now taking packed lunches to training
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has revealed that his players are now changing in their cars and taking packed lunches to training as the Saints bid to limit any transmission of Covid amid a surge in cases across the Premier League.
England’s top-flight has been savaged by a host of outbreaks at different clubs, resulting in a number of fixtures being postponed in recent weeks, including games involving Liverpool, Leeds, Wolves and Watford this weekend.
The Premier League met on Monday and decided that a festive firebreak would not be imposed to curb transmission, with clubs reverting back to emergency measures that were used during the first lockdown.
Southampton stars are getting changed in their cars and bringing packed lunches to training
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl (above) has lifted the lid on measures taken to limit coronavirus
Southampton currently have no Covid-19 cases but Hasenhuttl revealed they were undertaking further planned testing on Thursday and had also made changes to training ground protocols.
He said: ‘The Covid situation changes every day. We will test today again, so far we are okay.
‘We try to stick to the rules and do what helps us so far staying safe. It looks we are in a good moment, we are in a moment where we don’t eat indoors anymore.
‘Yesterday (Wednesday) we dress in the car and went home after the session. Not the perfect preparation for the players, who take lunch package home and eat at home.
Premier League clubs are adapting amid a surge in coronavirus cases across dressing rooms
‘We try to minimise the time around the training ground because if you have a case, you can separate this case immediately. This is what we did at the time when we had the most infections and this is what we do again.’
The Saints travel to the capital on Boxing Day to take on West Ham before they return to St Mary’s to host Tottenham on December 28.
Most top-flight clubs will also be in action on New Year’s Day and while Hasenhuttl has come to accept the need for football to be played around the Christmas period in England, he questions why a midweek match is required between December 26 and January 1.
‘You need more than two days between every game,’ the Austrian insisted.
‘We always have to do what we get told to do but with the situation we have, one of if not the best league in the world that plays through the winter without a break, without five subs, with the schedule we have, you force definitely injuries, this is for sure.
Players are getting changed in their cars and have been told to bring their own lunch to eat
‘We know this in the past and we have seen definitely in the last Christmas period is the time where you lose a lot of players because they still want to give their best, at the highest level and with the most intensity but you see the games are super intense at the moment and it’s hard to deliver for players.’
Hasenhuttl’s side have at least benefitted from a recent enforced break after their scheduled match at Brentford last weekend was postponed due to an outbreak of Covid-19 cases in the opposition camp.
It means the Saints, who are without a win in six matches, should be fresh for the trip to West Ham but the ongoing uncertainty with coronavirus means all eventualities are being prepared for.
The Saints are back in action this weekend after seeing last weekend’s game postponed
‘Yes sure, it helps definitely for preparing for a game when you have the players in here,’ the 54-year-old added in reference to the training ground.
‘The issue we have at the moment is if you plan with a team on Tuesday, on Wednesday it can then be a completely different one if we have cases so everything is changing.
‘We have to be flexible for every position because in the last moment everything can change so you have to prepare 24 players, or as much as you have, to be in the first XI.
‘This is what we try to do in the last week so we are prepared for all different eventualities.’