Scott Parker revealed Fulham had nine cases of coronavirus during the outbreak at the club which forced the Tottenham game to be postponed and their training ground closed in December.
Fulham had been due to play at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on December 30, before the squad returned six positive Covid-19 tests, with another three cases confirmed the following day, Parker said.
The Premier League announced on Monday that the Tottenham-Fulham game would be rearranged for Wednesday, a decision branded by Parker at the time as “scandalous”, but the Cottagers would go on to claim a 1-1 comeback draw in the fixture.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s visit of Chelsea, Parker said he wanted to set the record straight as he gave some information that the club had previously withheld from public knowledge.
“If I can explain exactly my argument because I have seen some comments regarding my gripe the other day,” Parker said.
“My gripe was not the fact that I only had two days to prepare the team. That’s not my gripe. My gripe was that, at this moment in time, 16 days ago, give or take, that the Tottenham fixture was meant to be played, we had on the morning of the game, six Covid positive tests. Six.
“At that moment I was ready to play the game, I wanted to play the game. But understand from one round of testing, we have six players. At that moment we needed to be very open and understand that we’re leaving our training facility with a group of players who may all be infected, because the day before, we trained.”
Parker went on to describe the testing protocol which includes a 24-hour wait for the results, and that the club informed the Premier League immediately for the safety of everyone involved.
“We travel to a hotel, the game gets called off, we get told to come back to the training facility to test again,” Parker added.
“Rightly so. Let’s test everyone in our bubble. Let’s see, hopefully not, that this deadly virus that we’re all petrified of has not spread.
“The following day we have another three positive tests. Three positive tests for players who were going to play in the Tottenham game. So our decision was right.
“I think it’s clear to say we’ve got an outbreak now. The facility gets shut for the weekend because we need to clear things up.”
A number of the nine players who had to self-isolate for 10 days had symptoms and Parker has raised a number of concerns over player welfare after the fixture was re-arranged at such short notice
Parker, whose side beat QPR after extra-time in the FA Cup third round last Saturday, said: “I’ve played a team against QPR thinking my next fixture is Friday, so the balance of that… It (the rearranged match) gets put on your lap Monday morning at 9.30am.
“I see this situation and think we have valid, valid reasons that this was very unfair. Very unfair. What I asked of my players yesterday… what they did was nothing short of remarkable to be honest with you.”