What they said – coronavirus has the sporting world talking

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Sport across the world is grappling with an unprecedented challenge as it works out how to cope with the coronavirus crisis.

Here, the PA news agency picks out the best quotes from March 26.

Watford captain Troy Deeney hit out at so-called covidiots who are ignoring government instructions to stay indoors.

Deeney, a father of three, is alarmed at those people who seem to be ignoring the guidelines about staying at home unless they are buying essentials, exercising or fulfilling a role as a key worker.

“We’ve all got to stay at home and follow the government guidelines,” Deeney told Watford’s website.

“How many more warnings do we need? They said they’ll pay 80 per cent of wages and people are still going to work.

“It’s going to have to go like Russia where if you go outside, it’s five years in jail.

“Some are seeing it as a bit of a jolly-up and it’s a shame because it could affect so many. You’ve got to hope people see the curve in Italy and Spain and get (the severity) of it.”

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has revealed he has set his players ‘homework’ as they continue to train alone.

Arteta tested positive for Covid-19 two weeks ago but has now recovered and he has spoken about how he is in constant contact with his backroom staff and players to continue as normally as possible in such trying times.

“There is the psychological support that they need, which we are giving them, and as well I’m giving them a lot of homework to do because I’ve been reviewing everything that we’ve been doing since I joined.”

Scotland boss Steve Clarke has urged the Tartan Army to join the fight against the virus.

Clarke’s team were due to be facing Israel in their Euro 2020 play-off semi-final on Thursday evening but the Hampden showdown has been shelved until June in the wake of the pandemic.

He said in a statement: “That sense of togetherness, loyalty and commitment is needed in our lives now, more than ever before. The first minister and the chief medical officer have been clear in outlining exactly what the nation must do to combat the virus that has become a global pandemic.

“I urge all of you to heed that advice: stay indoors, protect your family, and protect others. Stay home, save lives. Simple.”

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill followed suit on what would have been the eve of their play-off semi-final against Bosnia.

“Football players, managers and coaches are not immune to the potential effects of this deadly virus,” O’Neill said in a statement.

“We have family members and friends who are classed as vulnerable. We care for them deeply and don’t want them to come to any harm.

“We can help keep our loved ones safe by working together in tackling the spread of Covid-19 and following the guidelines issued by the government and the health authorities. It is in everyone’s best interests to do so.”

Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has written an open letter to fans urging them to “respect and protect” NHS workers by following the Government’s coronavirus stay-at-home guidelines.

The Italian also stressed the health and safety of people was “the number one priority in order to win this fight”.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Newcastle manager Steve Bruce called for a ‘Festival of Football’ with games every day to help get the season completed when it is safe to play again

Brighton and Hove Albion Press Conference – American Express Elite Football Performance Centre
Graham Potter has kept in touch with his players (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Asked how he has been spending his days, Potter replied: “I’ve been speaking to all the players one to one, to make sure they’re OK.

“And then looking at viewing some games and bouncing around some ideas to be ready for when we’re going to start.”

The 27-year-old told the PA News Agency: “I’ve got to be honest and say that every year gets tougher – the training is harder and the recovery takes longer – so that is going to be a hard thing.

“But I’m trying to look at the positives and just be grateful that they didn’t cancel the Games outright. It is a situation no athlete could have prepared themselves for, and it is about how we can best react.”

As people across the UK came together to applaud the ongoing efforts of NHS staff in battling the virus on Thursday night, a number of sports stars paid tribute to their work.

“It’s unbelievable what you are doing and, on behalf of all of us from LFC, I would like to say thank you,” said Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

England rugby union captain Owen Farrell added: “The sacrifice you are making at the moment is unbelievable and you’re a massive inspiration. Everyone make sure you stay safe.”

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