Watford manager Nigel Pearson says it is “debatable” whether the Premier League needs to return in June and that he would want his players to have six weeks of training beforehand.
Group training began at Premier League clubs this week with hopes that the season can resume in mid-June.
“[Players] need time to allow their bodies to adapt,” Pearson said.
“When we do restart, the stakes are high. It’s got to be timed right and done for the right reasons.”
Watford confirmed earlier in the week that defender Adrian Mariappa and two members of staff had tested positive for coronavirus, while captain Troy Deeney had already said he would not return to training because he feared for his family’s health.
Pearson said two more players are now staying away from the club’s training ground after members of their families tested positive for the virus.
“We’ve got until almost the end of August to finish the season. When we need to restart is debatable,” said Pearson, whose side are one place above the relegation zone.
“Normally you want six weeks [of training]. They’re athletes and people sometimes turn their nose up when you try to explain. We want our players to be fit – we invest a lot of time, energy and money in them. They’re our assets.”
And he added: “It doesn’t seem right to be talking too much about football when we’ve got so many fatalities.”
‘Training is as safe as it can be’
Deeney – and Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante – have decided to stay away from training for now, and Pearson says that he has been without a number of players this week “for different reasons” and has even had to move his 86-year-old father out from the family home.
Watford are paying for more family members of players and staff to be tested.
“The three people who tested positive were all very surprised because they all looked very well,” he said.
“[Training is] as safe as it can be. Individuals have got the right to look at their own circumstances.
“I’m back at work now and my circle of contacts has gone from five or six to about 50. It’s no longer safe for my dad to be living with us. So he’s gone home.
“Am I at greater risk by coming back to work? Probably yes, a little bit. But do I feel safe at work? I think we’re taking every precaution we can.
“We are committed to getting up and running but you can’t compromise people’s health and wellbeing.”