When Antonio Conte was handed the keys to the Tottenham Hotspur manager’s job, he knew he had a massive task on his hands.
Indeed, after a defeat to minnow NS Mura in Europe, he saw just how big a job was going to be required in order to turn around their fortunes.
Under Nuno Santo, the club’s style of play was boring and some damning attacking numbers were being lodged.
That’s a tally fewer than 19th placed Newcastle and also less than 15th placed Leeds.
Yet, their woes are now mounting. Tottenham have now had two games postponed due to confirmed cases of the pandemic rampaging through the Hotspur Way training ground.
Conte was able to hold a training session on Sunday but more bad news emerged on Monday morning as it was revealed that yet another first-team player, along with several members of the U23 squad had tested positive for the virus.
As a result, the club’s game this week with Leicester is now in doubt too.
This whole saga will come as a source of major anger for the Spurs manager as his ability to implement his style of play and get points on the board is being seriously hampered.
The festive period is an extremely important one for any club and with fixtures having to be postponed, it would only lead to another pile-up of games later in the season.
What’s worse is the potential impact it will have on fitness and stamina among the players. Not only will they be lacking in training but match fitness will also deteriorate.
The long-term impacts of the pandemic are well-known at this stage but you only need to look at the assessment from Everton defender Ben Godfrey to realise how some players could be affected.
He said earlier this year while struggling to recover: “I’d be blowing in the first few minutes — it was mad… you can’t describe it unless you’ve experienced it.
“It was like you had someone else’s body. I’d make a sprint and it’d feel like I’d played 88 minutes, even though it was five minutes into a game.”
Of course, the impacts are different for everybody but if a number of Tottenham’s players return in that state, it could be disastrous for their campaign long-term.
Based on that and the significant disruption that’s being caused, this is another big setback for the Lilywhites. Conte has every right to be rather angry right now.