Neil Warnock has revealed how he was knocked out for a week by “life or death” coronavirus.
The Boro boss, 71, has explained in detail how he was left “shattered and wanting to sleep every minute” after being struck down a fortnight ago.
Warnock has issued a stern warned the public to wear masks, and take the virus seriously, slamming the 200 students filmed at a raucous party at Coventry University this week.
He will reach 1,500 games as a pro coach this weekend against Barnsley and be back in the dug-out.
But his brush with Covid-19 has been a shock and left Warnock passionate about ensuring the rest of the country do their bit in stopping the spread.
He said: “It is life or death with this horrible virus. It makes you more aware of how careful you have to be. You don't think about football you just think: How can I get better?
“I started with a niggly throat and lost sense of smell and taste. I was shattered first few days wanting to go to sleep every minute.
“It was just the tiredness. At my age you want a nap in the afternoon but in was constantly shattered with this virus. It was slightly different. It took ten days. It can linger longer.
"I should have some antibodies now, which is a good thing. But it was a tiring experience for me.
“I was lucky I didn't get anything on my chest. I was surprised I got it because I'd been so careful.
"Once I got it I was determined to keep my lungs as wide open as I could, and avoid breathing difficulties. I listened to what the doc said. You are weak and have to recover.”
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Warnock, who says he's not even had flu for 15 years, suspects he caught it from another staff member, adding: “Our IT lad was worse off and had it before. I had an hour in office with him, no windows open.
"He had it bad on the chest. I won't put myself in a situation like that again. Always have ventilation.”
Warnock has waded in to the national debate about mask wearing and social distancing.
He added: “You just have to do it. If my wife saw someone shopping without a mask she'd tell them. And I'd be right behind her!
"I am doing the surfaces 2-3 times a day. I am paranoid about that. I wash my fruit with suds.
"I've not told her about me going round spraying everything because I don't want her thinking it is going to be the norm.
“It annoys me when I see 200 kids having a party at university. It is not them at risk it is when the speak to someone else, parents, grandparents. There is not enough thought going on, which disappoints me.”
Warnock says staying fit helped him over the worst. He spoke to players via video link but missed two games.
“It is nice to be back on the grass. I like looking players in the eye. Looking around the dressing room, get a feeling who is on it, or not. In warm up you get to know who is a bit below par so I spend a minute with them.”
Warnock will do his 1,500 team talk this week, still not feeling totally normal.
“I went up the road to get some fish and chips yesterday to see if I could taste it. I could just a little bit.”
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