LONDON — Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho said it was painful to watch countries resume their top-flight seasons while English soccer remains suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The German Bundesliga restarted on May 16, becoming the first major soccer league to get back under way, while leagues in Portugal and Spain are also nearing a return.
Professional soccer in England has been suspended since mid-March but clubs on Wednesday voted unanimously to return to contact training as the second step in the Premier League’s “Project Restart,” which hopes for a return to play in June.
“It’s hard to see other countries playing football and we don’t do it,” Mourinho told Sky Sports.
“I always try to make our players love the Christmas period where, instead of being sad, we were always happy to give people what they love in a period where nobody else is playing football.
“At the moment, we’re feeling a bit opposite… We want to play but of course we are respectful of the authorities, we trust what they and the Premier League say, we just have to follow the decision.”
The extended break has given Spurs’ injured players, such as Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Moussa Sissoko, and Steven Bergwijn time to recover and Mourinho said they should all be available when the season resumes.
“I cannot say at this moment that they are ready to play… but all of them are not injured anymore. They are training, it is what it is and it has a lot of limitations… but Harry, Son, Bergwijn, Sissoko, all of them are fine,” he added.
“… I think in a couple of weeks they will be able to play. Of course not to their maximum potential, I don’t think anyone can at this moment, but they will be ready to go.”
Tottenham was in eighth place, four points off the European qualifying spots, when the season was suspended. — Reuters