COVID decimates Saint-Etienne squad for derby


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The Ligue 1 side reported 75-year-old president Roland Romeyer also tested positive. He is asymptomatic but will be unable to attend Monday's (AEDT) game. 

Puel, who missed last week's loss at Strasbourg along with seven other members of the coaching staff and ten players, told a press conference he "is getting better" although he added he was still "not in top form".

"I tested negative," Puel said having previous tested positive for the virus.

"Seven players remain unavailable. I can't give their names because of medical confidentiality," he added.

He said in addition to the COVID-19 cases, four players are injured.

"We'll see after [Sunday's] training if we can recall injured players or players who suffered knocks in Strasbourg."

"This week we had to work in groups with different schedules," he said. 

"Four players have been training alone and we've welcomed back a member of the coaching staff each day."

Puel promised his team would be "ready".  

"We're going to see that we can play a proper derby regardless of what team we send out," he said, adding he is counting on the sense of rivalry with Lyon fostered by the club's the youth teams. 

"It runs in their veins," he said. "They have green blood. They know the importance of this particular match and what it represents for the fans."