Serie A leaders Inter Milan have seen all first-team activities suspended by the Milanese public health department after four players at the club tested positive for the coronavirus.
Goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, defenders Danilo D’Ambrosio and Stefan de Vrij, and midfielder Matias Vecino returned positive test results. As part of the suspension of all first-team activities, the health department also decided for Inter’s Serie A match against Sassuolo on Saturday to be postponed.
D’Ambrosio’s and Handanovic’s positive tests were announced on Wednesday, with the results for De Vrij and Vecino arriving on Thursday.
Inter released a statement on Thursday explaining that the suspension will last for four days leading up to and including Sunday, March 21.
As well as prohibiting Inter players from joining their countries’ squads for the upcoming FIFA international break, the statement adds that new tests must be done before first-team activities can resume on Monday.
It is the second time this season that Inter have suffered a coronavirus outbreak, with several first-team players testing positive in October.
Hansi Flick has admitted that he wanted three players currently at Chelsea to be added to his Bayern Munich squad, but maintains that he has suffered no falling out over transfers with sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.
Flick told Sky Deutschland amid reports that a failure to land top targets has led to a strained relationship with Salihamidzic: “It is always said that [Callum] Hudson-Odoi and [Serginho] Dest were my desired players, but they were our desired players.
“We decided that we wanted to add players for the wide areas and that is what we did. [Kai] Havertz, [Timo] Werner and [Leroy] Sane were mentioned, I would have loved to have all three, but we all decided on Sane. He’s a player who makes a difference.”
Chelsea have put contract talks with Tammy Abraham on hold, according to ESPN.
The 23-year-old striker was expected to sign a long-term deal last season but negotiations stalled in part over his wage demands.
Abraham ended up triggering an automatic one-year extension last July, tying him to the club until 2023 and earning him a small increase on his £50,000-a-week wage.
That extra 12 months reduced the urgency to find a longer agreement, and ESPN report that both parties are now likely to wait until the end of the season before reviewing the situation.
Abraham is also thought to be wary of speculation that Chelsea will look to pull off a move for Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland this summer.
Chelsea moved to tie down Reece James, Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi to long-term deals and were expected to do the same with Abraham but it is understood they were reluctant to offer Abraham a six-figure weekly salary.
Thomas Tuchel insists Timo Werner has no cause for frustration at Chelsea, dismissing claims the Blues striker could head back to Germany in the summer.
The Germany international provided the assist for Hakim Ziyech’s goal in Chelsea’s win over Atletico Madrid at Sramford Bridge on Wednesday night.
Werner has struck just two goals in his last 26 Chelsea appearances, with the £53million recruit struggling with his finishing.
But Chelsea boss Tuchel has told the 25-year-old to stop worrying and “focus on the process” of rediscovering his scoring touch.
When quizzed on whether there is any truth in rumours that Werner is unhappy in west London, Tuchel replied: “Stop reading! Read a book! There is no book on Timo, so read a book!
“For Timo, I think he has no reason now to be frustrated because he played an amazing match against Liverpool, maybe his best match since I arrived.
“Then he had a good match against Everton with a lot of chances to score, which he normally is clinical enough and strong enough.
“Nobody here is blaming the strikers. This is a team effort to attack and defend, but we expect our guys to create more chances, to be more decisive because we expect the defenders to play on the highest level and so we also expect that of our strikers.
“And then maybe all the stuff you read will disappear.”
Frank Leboeuf claims that both N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic were the reason the Blues had an upperhand in their win over Atletico Madrid, stating that a player like the La Liga giants’ captain Koke is not an easy opponent.
The former Chelsea star however was full of praise for Kante as Chelsea secured a 2-0 win (3-0 agg) against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night.
The 29-year-old created two chances in the game, while completing four of his seven dribble attempts.
To put it into perspective, Mateo Kovacic who is known for his dribbling ability completed five dribbles from the same number of attempts.
Leboeuf was clearly impressed as he described Kante as “the king of the midfield”.
“That guy [Kante] was absolutely magical today,” the former Chelsea centre-back told ESPN FC.
“You have to add Kovacic, because they worked very well together and won the battle in the middle of the [pitch].
“You know with players like Koke, it’s never easy because it’s a real fight.
“But today from the first minute to the last, Kante was the king of the midfield.
“Remember the last action, when Emerson scored the goal, [Kante] got the ball in his 18-yard-box and sprinted for 80 metres.
“He was physically at the top.
“And if Kante is at the top physically, it changes the game.”
Thiago Silva led wild celebrations from the stands as the defender embraced team-mates Mason Mount and Jorginho after Emerson’s 94th minute goal (right) booked Chelsea’s place in the Champions League quarter-finals.
The Brazilian (left with Mount and Joringho) was missing through injury while Mount and Jorginho were both suspended for the second leg tie at Stamford Bridge.
Silva was animated throughout the game and could be seen shouting instructions to Chelsea’s players on the pitch as they looked to hold on to their 1-0 lead in the second half.
Koke rues Atletico Madrid’s defeat to Chelsea in the Champions League last 16 second leg at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night.
Goals from Hakim Ziyech and Emerson were all Chelsea needed to claim victory having defeated the La Liga leaders in the first leg by 1-0 at Bucharest.
“Today is a difficult day,” Koke said post-match in comments carried by Marca. “We were all very excited about this competition, but we’ve always been on the back foot.
“In the first leg we weren’t as we should have been. Today, in the first half, they found spaces. We looked for solutions at half-time, but we couldn’t find them. After the red card, their second goal came and really killed us.”
Koke was defiant, however, when asked whether he doubted the strength of his team. “If we had doubts we wouldn’t go out to play. I have maximum confidence in this team, that we’re playing a great league season and we can become champions. Now we have Alaves, which is a final.”