AZ Alkmaar coach Arne Slot insists he ‘can’t complain’ after travelling to Napoli for the Europa League clash without 13 players who have COVID-19.
It kicks off on Thursday at the Stadio San Paolo at 17.55 UK time (16.55 GMT).
“These have been difficult days, but we did everything possible to ensure we could come here and fortunately those who are positive are asymptomatic,” said Slot in his press conference.
“We talked to the Dutch Federation and to UEFA to make sure everything was alright. We can’t wait to play.”
Napoli had pulled out of a trip to Juventus in Serie A with two positive players, so is it not strange that AZ should be allowed to play when there are 13 who tested positive?
“UEFA make the decision and as long as we’ve got at least 13 players, we go ahead. The local and Dutch authorities could intervene, but we were given the authority to go ahead.
“The infections are rising all over the world, but we have to live with it and keep doing our jobs. Life continues in the Netherlands and that means football too.
“We weren’t loose with the medical protocol or the preventative measures, as we did everything possible to avoid this outbreak.
“We’re missing quite a few players, but we can still field a strong line-up. Everyone knows we always play 4-3-3 and I don’t want to change for tomorrow. I’ve got most of the first choice players, so I can’t complain.
“I watch Napoli all the time, they have a fantastic front line with a lot of quality. They’re also disciplined in defence and work hard, so we have the utmost respect for them.
“Napoli are the favourites to top the group, as they are usually in the Champions League, but at the same time Real Sociedad are top of La Liga. Recent AZ results might not be impressive, but if we analyse the latest performances, they haven’t been bad.”