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Tottenham trio’s Covid-19 breach was ‘a negative surprise’ – Jose Mourinho

Giovani Lo Celso, Sergio Reguilon and Erik Lamela

Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho has expressed his personal disappointment in Erik Lamela, Sergio Reguilon and Giovani Lo Celso for breaking coronavirus rules.

The trio were pictured together at a large party during the Christmas period in a clear breach of tier four rules which are in effect in the capital.

Spurs say they “strongly condemn” the actions of their players and the trio could face internal disciplinary action.

The indiscretion of Reguilon was particularly disappointing for Mourinho, who bought the Spaniard a Portuguese suckling pig as a present, having been told he was going to be on his own at Christmas.

“An amazing gift. An amazing gift,” he said. “A Portuguese piglet which is amazing for Portuguese and Spanish (people).

“I gave (it to) him because I was told he was going to spend Christmas on his own. I had this thought about him. He was not alone as you could see and we the club of course feel disappointed because we give the players all the education, all the conditions.

“Of course we’re not happy. It was a negative surprise for us.”

Lamela was absent from the 3-0 win over Leeds, where Reguilon was an unused substitute, while Lo Celso is injured anyway.

The club said in a statement: “We are extremely disappointed and strongly condemn this image showing some of our players with family and friends together at Christmas, particularly as we know the sacrifices everybody around the country made to stay safe over the festive period.

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho expressed his unhappiness at the actions of his three players

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho expressed his unhappiness at the actions of his three players (Ian Walton/PA).

“The rules are clear, there are no exceptions, and we regularly remind all our players and staff about the latest protocols and their responsibilities to adhere and set an example.

“The matter will be dealt with internally.”

This is not the first time Spurs’ players have broken lockdown rules as there were several incidents during the first lockdown in the spring.

Mourinho was seen holding a personal training session with Tanguy Ndombele, Ryan Sessegnon and Davinson Sanchez were seen out running together, while Serge Aurier was a repeat offender, having a haircut and a personal training session with Moussa Sissoko.

West Ham also reminded Lanzini, who scored a last-gasp equaliser against Spurs in October, of his responsibilities.

A West Ham spokesperson said: “The club has set the highest possible standards with its protocols and measures relating to Covid-19 so we are disappointed to learn of Manuel Lanzini’s actions.

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“The matter has been dealt with internally and Manuel has been strongly reminded of his responsibilities.”

Lanzini issued an apology on Twitter for his “bad mistake”.

He said: “I want to apologise for a bad mistake I made over Christmas and I take full responsibility for my actions. I know people have made difficult sacrifices to stay safe and I should be setting a better example.”

More positive cases at Fulham have resulted in Sunday’s Premier League match against Burnley being postponed.

The news comes three days after the Cottagers’ scheduled match against Tottenham was also called off following an outbreak at the London club.

Fulham said they had recorded “further new positive results” from their latest Covid-19 tests and Sunday’s match was called off “after discussions with the Premier League and advice from medical teams”.

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The Cottagers are investigating pictures that emerged on social media on Friday which showed forward Aleksandar Mitrovic and his fellow Serb Luka Milivojevic of Crystal Palace, along with their two families on December 31.

“The club is looking into the matter fully as it takes a breach of the rules extremely seriously,” read a Fulham statement. “The player is aware of the club’s disappointment and of the standards that are expected of him. The matter will now be dealt with internally.”

Palace boss Roy Hodgson, meanwhile, stressed he was right to pick midfielder Milivojevic for Saturday’s victory against Sheffield United as both Serbian players had returned negative tests for Covid-19.

“We condemn it, we certainly apologise for it and I am sure Luka will as well,” he said.

The Premier League’s stance remains that continuing with the season as planned is the right option.

It said in a statement: “With the health of players and staff the priority, the League and Fulham will agree a further action plan to control the outbreak to allow the club to resume their season safely.

Fulham boss Scott Parker had to isolate after a member of his household tested positive

Fulham boss Scott Parker had to isolate after a member of his household tested positive (Stu Forster/PA)

“Players and staff will now be retested as part of a revised testing schedule.

“With low numbers of positive tests across the overwhelming majority of clubs, the League continues to have confidence in its Covid-19 protocols, fully backed by the Government, to enable fixtures to be played as scheduled.

“The League wishes those with Covid-19 a safe and speedy recovery and will rearrange Fulham’s two postponed games as soon as possible.”

In League Two, Colchester’s home game with Tranmere was called off barely an hour before the scheduled 3pm kick-off due to what the hosts called “Covid-19 issues in both squads”.

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