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Nuno Espirito Santo fears of damage from another Premier League stoppage

Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea – Premier League – Molineux
(Image credit: Rui Vieira)

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo fears of lasting damage to football if the Premier League is forced to stop again.

The Molineux chief is concerned for the game’s long-term future amid the coronavirus pandemic with cases rising at an alarming rate.

Aston Villa’s game with Tottenham has been postponed after an outbreak at the Midlands club – meaning Spurs now host Fulham on Wednesday at short notice.

Liverpool and Manchester United were revealed to be in talks for FIFA-backed European Premier League in October while Project Big Picture, a revamp of the English top flight which suggested reducing teams to 18 and scrapping the EFL Cup, has also been discussed.

Wolves host Everton on Tuesday as the Premier League perseveres but Nuno remains worried.

He said: “If we stop everything will change. A new football will come, probably with a Super League, probably with other competitions. It’ll be a matter of which clubs will survive. It’s a tough decision to make.

“I don’t know what is better. What I’m afraid of is, if the decision is to stop, football we know now will not be the same. This is my biggest fear. The schedule will go crazy and it’ll be impossible to finish the league and think about the Euros.

“We cannot move forward and go back to a normal situation. The virus and pandemic is affecting things a lot, the increase of cases is growing in a scary way. This is what my main concern is.

“Things have changed, almost a year ago we were stopping because we didn’t know what was happening. It was something we hadn’t experienced. There were a lot of doubts.

“After the restart everyone made a big effort. There were protocols, meetings, things exchanged, we were sure no matter what we were playing because we only needed 14 players. Now things have changed and we are starting to think about stopping again.

“If you have a crisis the strong will survive, what about the rest? My personal view, when I have an awareness of what’s going around, you will not find the same model we have now.”

Nuno also questioned some of the new coronavirus restrictions introduced by the Premier League last week.

They include the further limit of people at training grounds, the use of three coaches, instead of two, to transport squads to games and the limited use of canteens.

“We are already going to report our own thoughts to the Premier League on that,” Nuno said.

“We received advice regarding procedures inside the training ground, the canteen, the dressing rooms and all these things.

“As a single example, if you close your own canteen at your training ground, the players must go outside to eat so the risk of exposure can increase.

“That’s why us as a club will give our opinion through the proper channels.

“Now we are in a bubble and we are tested almost every day.

“If you’re not allowed inside our own bubble to try to have as much time as possible with players in a safe environment, by closing this environment and forcing a player outside, you are helping the risk.

“This is our opinion as a club.”