Pochettino ‘pushing Tottenham to the limit’
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Mauricio Pochettino accepts he is pushing his Tottenham squad to the limit as he counts of the cost of their World Cup exploits.
Out of the 11 Spurs players that went to Russia in the summer, only Harry Kane, Toby Alderweireld and Son Heung-min have not spent time out injured this season with muscle injuries.
Davinson Sanchez and Kieran Trippier were the latest stars to head for the treatment room before the recent international break and neither is expected back until next month.
With eight of those players being at the tournament for its entirety, they did not return to Tottenham until five days before the Premier League season.
And Pochettino, whose Tottenham side play Chelsea this weekend, would prefer his young squad to be going out and enjoying their lives in the summer rather than playing football for 12 months.
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“Today we’re in a period where the technology and the knowledge of sports science and the medical staff are fantastic – they can provide the best help,” he said.
“But we’re pushing players to the limit. The line between getting injured or not is so thin.
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“We don’t realise that we’re playing with the health of the players. They’re human. It’s so tough. They are young. They need to enjoy life, too.
“They need to spend energy with families, kids, girlfriends. And the guys that are not with girlfriends need to go to try to find one.
“It’s normal. Come on, they are young. We need to be careful but I know the business is crazy today and it’s not easy to understand but it is like this.”
Pochettino’s team selection has come under intense scrutiny this season as he tries to perform a balancing act between resting his players and fielding a strong side.
But the Argentinian knows that ultimately it is the club that suffers, adding: “How do we manage that situation? We put a lot of emphasis on looking after them and recover to try to help them.
“But in the end, when the competition arrives, the competition does not wait for you. It does not understand you’re tired and you haven’t had holidays.
“And then who pays? The club pays.
“I understand the decision of the national teams’ coaching staff. But who looks after the players? When we rotate the players, the fans or you ask, ‘Why not play him?’
“Because they need to rest! And sometimes it’s difficult to compete because it’s not only running. It’s the energy you spend in your mind and if you’re tired it affects your body.”
Spurs will have to be at their best if they are to end Chelsea’s unbeaten Premier League start.
Pochettino added: “It’s Chelsea, who have one point over us. Always when you play this type of game it’s so important and it means a lot for everyone.
“We need to be calm and relaxed now and make sure we arrive in the best way, being competitive and then perform in the best way to try to win.”