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Gunners boss Arteta: My coronavirus ordeal

Arsenal manager says he ‘feels recovered’ after diagnosis led to postponement of the Premier League

27 March, 2020 — By Steve Barnett

Mikel Arteta: ‘All those who had been in contact with me had to go into quarantine – and consequently games had to be suspended’

MIKEL Arteta has opened up about his coronavirus ordeal, revealing that “everything happened very fast” after diagnosis.

The Arsenal manager tested positive for Covid-19 on March 12 and, within 24 hours, the Premier League was put on hold.

Arteta says he is “very well now” and “feels recovered”, adding that “it took three or four days” for the symptoms to pass and for his energy levels to return.

The first signs that there was trouble ahead came when Evangelos Marinakis, president of the Gunners’ Europa League last-32 opponents Olympiakos, tested positive for the virus.

“On Tuesday afternoon I was feeling so-so and I went to see the doctor but he wasn’t there,” Arteta told Spanish television channel La Sexta.

“Then I got a call from the board of directors and they told me the president of Olympiakos had tested positive and everyone who had been in contact was at risk. I went on to tell them that I wasn’t feeling well and that we had a situation because we had lots of players that had been in contact with them.

“We had a game against Manchester City the next day and obviously we couldn’t put lots of people at risk without saying anything.”

The match at the Etihad was postponed and Arteta, having tested positive, quickly found himself in isolation.

He added: “Obviously all those who had been in contact with me had to go into quarantine as well, and consequently games had to be suspended.”

That 14-day spell in quarantine is now over, and the Arsenal men’s first-team squad was due back in training at London Colney on Tuesday.

The club, however, have cancelled such plans, and are now urging their players to “stay at home and save lives”.

Arsenal said in a statement: “As a result of the current situation we are clear it would be inappropriate and irresponsible to ask players to come back at this time. Therefore our men’s first-team, women and academy players are all remaining at home.”

Arteta’s diagnosis led to Arsenal’s Premier League match against Brighton, scheduled for March 14, being postponed, followed by the rest of England’s top-flight fixtures.

It has since been decided that English football will not return until April 30 “at the earliest”, but the 2019/20 season will be extended indefinitely with clubs desperate to complete the campaign.

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