Jose Mourinho has given an update on Matt Doherty after the Irish full-back’s positive Covid-19 test while on international duty.
Matt Doherty was ruled out of Ireland’s Uefa Nations League game with Bulgaria after contracting coronavirus but Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho insists the right-back has recovered from Covid-19.
Doherty played no part in last weekend’s victory over Manchester City and Mourinho was unsure about the Irishman’s fitness going into Thursday’s Europa League meeting with Ludogorets.
Mourinho confirmed that Doherty had since returned a negative result on his latest Covid-19 test but his absence in recent weeks may yet deny him a starting role until he returns to full fitness.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, as transcribed by Football London, Mourinho said: “Yeah he’s back. By the legal and clinical point of view he’s ready.
“Is he ready to start a match? We don’t know. Honestly I still have some work to do with him to understand that, but to participate in the game, playing or being on the bench, it’s good, because in the Europa League we can have 12 players on the bench so 12 plus 11 makes 23 and it’s good to have him in the 23-man squad.”
Mourinho had previously criticised the Covid-19 protocols of the Republic of Ireland, with a number of Irish players testing positive for coronavirus in the most recent international break.
The Spurs manager questioned Ireland’s ability to maintain a structured bubble in the same way that his club does.
“When the players leave the club bubble, the story is a different story,” Mourinho said last week.
“I have my doubts if everybody follows protocols in the way where the player is protected, a position is protected and society is protected too. I have my doubts.
“It is a bit difficult for me to understand that the player, after a game, in the same night of the game, has a positive result.
“Why after? Why not before? It’s a simple question, probably with a simple answer, but I don’t have the answer.”