Spurs boss admits: I laughed when I saw our schedule this week
Mauricio Pochettino admits he laughed when he saw Tottenham’s schedule this week.
Having had to wait until 4pm on Sunday to face West Ham because the match was selected for television coverage, Spurs are preparing to travel to Azerbaijan to face FK Qarabag in the Europa League on Thursday – and they have then been handed a midday kick-off on Sunday against Chelsea.
The Lilywhites faced a similar issue earlier this month when they were forced to play three times in the space of six days – against Aston Villa, Anderlecht and Arsenal.
Pochettino was philosophical at the time, insisting he had no complaints and that he was determined not to use the lack of recovery and preparation time as an excuse. But, while he accepts the business side to the Premier League and the revenue generated by TV coverage, he has struggled to hide his irritation this time.
“I laugh. I only smile,” he said. “Again, like it was the week when we played Monday, Thursday and Sunday - three times in six days - now it’s the same.
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“Maybe it’s worse because you need to fly nearly six hours, and then the decision about whether to come straight back or stay [overnight in Azerbaijan on Thursday] is very difficult because both decisions are bad.”
Asked which approach Pochettino is favouring, he said: “Maybe we come straight back and we give the players the day off on Friday because you never know, it might be difficult to fly from the airport.
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“Maybe you need to wait two hours at the airport and, for us, it’s better to go straight after the game and get to England as soon as possible, and maybe give them Friday off for recovery. As soon as possible, we want to get back to England.
“It’s always the same problem. At the beginning of the season all the clubs in the Premier League want to play on TV because, you know, it’s a business - but when the moment comes to play we complain.
“The balance is difficult but we have to accept it because football is a business. It’s true that you give the advantage to the opponent. But it’s good for us to be strong in our mind and train more every day to try to do better.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs