Aston Villa midfielder Conor Hourihane has admitted that he has been hit with a tragedy of his own due to the coronavirus and cited how its become bigger than the game of football.
Hourihane and his Republic of Ireland teammates will go into Wednesday night's Uefa Nations League clash against Bulgaria hoping to secure an all but crucial win after failing to do in their last ten competitive matches.
The 29-year-old said: “It’s not easy whatsoever. This pandemic has influenced a lot of people.
“We’re all worried about results, performances and goals and whatever – and yes, that’s what we all want – but listen, I’ve had a family issue with Covid, somebody unfortunately passing away. It’s not an easy time for people.
“People won’t know what’s going on in people’s lives. We’re all wanting results and to win games, but sometimes there are bigger things out there in life.
“This pandemic is definitely bigger than a couple of goals and a couple of results. But fingers crossed we’ll get a good performance on Wednesday.”
The Ireland national team has also been hit hard with the virus with the likes of Callum Robinson, Alan Browne, Matt Doherty and James McClean all in self-isolation after testing positive for Covid-19.
It is believed that this has drastically affected the psyche of the player and Hourihane added that although he feels safe, his main concern is his family and infecting them because they are at risk.
“I do feel safe. The tests are a big part of that. Not taking it home is hugely important to me, with what has happened in the last few months in my family.
“My partner is pregnant as well, so I don’t want to be taking anything back to her. There are a lot of factors. But once I don’t get it and don’t take it home, that’s all the matters at the end of the day.
“Once everyone is safe around me, that’s all that matters.”