SLAVEN BILIC has revealed West Brom suffered a secret Covid-crisis during the international break – with 15 cases at the height of the outbreak.
Defender Kieran Gibbs and captain Jake Livermore both missed last week’s 1-0 defeat at Manchester United after contracting Covid-19, with one of them unlikely to recover in time to face Sheffield United tomorrow night.
Bilic did not reveal how many other players tested positive and how many others were forced to self-isolate after coming into contact with an affected teammate.
But he admitted he was grateful the virus struck while the Premier League was in cold storage.
Bilic shuddered to think of the damage it could have done to the Baggies' hopes of survival if the outbreak had swept through his squad during a busy period.
His West Brom side sit 19th in the table and are still without a win after nine matches.
He revealed: “I have to praise our medical team because a couple of weeks ago we had many cases.
“Maybe 15 cases, it was a high amount.
"They didn't affect the game that much, although a few of them weren't in the squad against Manchester United.
“But if there is such a thing, it was good timing because it happened during the international break.
“Thanks to our medical team and the players and staff who looked after themselves, all the tests on Monday were negative and training has been back to normal.
“Jake and Kieran Gibbs have now tested negative.
"Unfortunately one of them still feels a bit rough so, for one of them, the Sheffield United game is probably going to be a bit too early.”
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