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Neil Warnock urges people to follow guidelines after his brush with coronavirus

Watford v Middlesbrough – Sky Bet Championship – Vicarage Road
(Image credit: Adam Davy)

Neil Warnock has hit out at those flouting Government restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.

The 71-year-old Middlesbrough boss is back at work after self-isolating following a positive test for Covid-19, and will take charge of the 1500th game of his league managerial career against Barnsley on Saturday.

However, he will do so concerned that some people, and particularly Coventry University students who were filmed partying in footage which has been shared widely, are still not observing the rules.

Asked if his experience had given him a different outlook on the situation, Warnock said: “It just makes me a little bit more disappointed when I see the University of Coventry having 200 people having a party. When you’re young, you’ve got no responsibility like that.

“The majority of university students are really thoughtful and they know, but you just get the odd patch like that and that makes me disappointed because they might be enjoying the party, but it’s life or death if they go home at the weekend or they see one of their elderly relatives.

“There’s no thought whatsoever there. It’s a killer disease, especially for older people, and I’d just like us to be a little bit more responsible, if I’m honest.”

Warnock held the reins remotely for Boro’s Sky Bet Championship games against Bournemouth and QPR, and admitted while he was free to travel to London last weekend, he simply did not feel up to it.

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He said: “When you get older, you want a nap in the afternoon or this, that and the other, but with this virus, you’re just constantly absolutely shattered and you don’t feel like doing anything, so it’s slightly different. It can linger.

“In a way, it’s been a blessing for me in the fact that I should have now some of these things that can fight it in my bloodstream now so in a way, it’s a good thing for that. But it was a very tiring experience for me.

“I’m very fortunate that I didn’t get it in March, April, May when by the looks of it, we didn’t really know what we were doing, did we, then?

“Now even though the cases are increasing again, I think we can deal with it a lot better if people listen to the advice being given.”

Middlesbrough were without their manager on the touchline against Bournemouth

Middlesbrough were without their manager on the touchline against Bournemouth (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Warnock believes his general level of fitness helped him to overcome the virus.

He said: “Even when I was younger as a player, I used to look at my managers – one manager in particular who, I remember, was really quite overweight – and I thought, ‘If ever I start managing, I don’t want my players to see me like that’.

“I remember that vividly and it’s driven me on. I like my players to know that I’m training after every session.”

He added with a smile: “They have a laugh because I have to have a headband on because I sweat terribly. I show some of the lads, I say, ‘You never do this, you lot’.”