Pochettino concerned packed fixture lists will cause more injuries

Justin Setterfield
Spurs play midweek through the start of the new year and the manager thinks it is putting his players at an increased risk of injury

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is concerned over the heavy workload his players are experiencing competing across all competitions and international play.

Spurs return from the international break to face off against Chelsea on Saturday, followed by a midweek Champions League clash with Inter and a visit to Arsenal the following weekend.

The heavy fixture list next week is a precursor to what is to follow over the next month, as Spurs play midweek and each weekend through January 1.

And while the international breaks are done until March, Pochettino has to contend with players who have had little rest between the international matches this fall and a short respite following the 2018 World Cup.

The situation leaves Pochettino concerned his players have a real risk of breaking down physically over the course of the season, only to be pushed further by the Nations League finals in June.

“Today the technology, sports science and the medical staff are fantastic,” Pochettino said.

“But we’re pushing players to the limit. The line between getting injured and staying fit is so thin. We don’t realise that we’re playing with the health of the players.

“They’re human, they are young, they need to enjoy life, too. They need to spend energy with their families, kids, ­girlfriends – and the guys that are not with girlfriends need to try to find one!

“We need to be ­careful. I know the business is crazy today and it’s not easy to ­understand.

“Yes, of course I am concerned.

“We’re going to finish ­in the league on May 12 and we hope to be in the FA Cup or Champions League final.”

Pochettino believes the international breaks make life increasingly difficult for the club, as it adds yet another strain on the players. 

While Pochettino says he and his staff aim to manage the players' fitness, the reality of heavy fixture lists requiring players to feature often limits the staff's ability navigate the situation. 

“We can only ­control what we’re doing here.

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“But they leave again when the September ­internationals ­arrive and again in October and ­November – it’s 15 days you lose ­control of the players.

“They then ­arrive back here and they’re ­excited to train, but they need to relax.

“We put a lot of emphasis on ­looking after them but, in the end, when the ­competition arrives, the ­competition does not wait for you. And who pays? The club.”