Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has praised key workers for putting their lives at risk during the Covid-19 pandemic and urged fans to continue staying safe.
The Premier League was shut down more than two months ago by the coronavirus outbreak but it is hoped that football in the top division could restart behind closed doors midway through June.
City’s first-team squad returned to the Etihad Campus last week and Guardiola says the players are keen to return to action when they can do so safely.
“All the fans around the world are waiting for football to come back. We want to come back but now the priority is other things,” he said.
“The message is still stay safe, be careful and when everything is possible we will come back. First I think without [the fans], but hopefully we come back to a routine.
“But now the most important thing is to follow the instructions. If they say use a mask, stay at home, social distance – we have to do it. Because there are many, many people in the NHS, who put their own lives at risk to save ours.
“It’s incredible what they have done, and we have to follow them. Now, we cannot do anything wrong.”
Guardiola’s first team were training in small groups at the weekend having been tested for coronavirus, with the Catalan watching on, wearing a face mask and surgical gloves.
Among the training group were Aymeric Laporte and Leroy Sane, who were recovering from injuries before the shutdown, and Guardiola said the players had come back in good shape.
“It’s nice to come back of course,” he said. “We follow the rules we have to. This is the most important thing. We don’t do anything special.
“[The players are] really good. I think they have been looking forward to coming back and training again and do what they like. They came back perfectly.”
Guardiola’s mother Dolors Sala Carrio sadly passed away aged 82 after contracting coronavirus in April.
He donated €1 million (£920,000/$1.08 million) to help buy medical supplies in the fight against coronavirus in his home of Catalonia.