Former Premier League striker turned TV pundit Dean Saunders has torn into Tottenham Hotspur’s players amid reports of squad burn out, as Mauricio Pochettino’s men endure one of their most difficult periods in recent seasons.
After a report in The Times stated that a number of the Lilywhites players had expressed concerns over fatigue after third successive loss, the 54-year-old former Liverpool and Aston Villa forward told talkSport their claims had little substance, citing his former club as an example to the contrary.
Saunders told the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast: “(It’s) absolute nonsense, honestly. Are Liverpool’s players tired? Last game of the season, count how many games those players have played till this day today.
“How many in the World Cup? Six, if you played every game, and six Premier League games? So they’ve played 12 games in about four months.”
After starting the season in sterling fashion with three league wins on the bounce, concerns over Spurs’ failure to recruit a single player in the close season were temporarily discarded after taking a maximum points haul.
Following back-to-back league defeats away to Watford and at home to Liverpool last weekend, Tuesday night was the perfect opportunity for a riposte as the north Londoners began their UEFA Champions League campaign against Inter.
Having led through Christian Eriksen’s deflected first-half effort at the San Siro however, a superb 85th-minute equaliser from Mauro Icardi and a stoppage-time headed winner from Matias Vecino, saw Spurs surrender a lead for the second time in three games.
The third consecutive loss marks the worst run of defeats during Pochettino’s era at the club, and has now seen the early concern over a lack of player recruitment return, prompting cries of exhaustion from the Tottenham camp.
The Times understand several Tottenham Hotspur players claim that the team’s slump is down to exhaustion and mental fatigue and believe they should be given more days off. #THFC pic.twitter.com/JUzWwsbZCy
— Talking THFC (@TalkingTHFC) September 20, 2018
Saunders however is one who does not buy such excuses – despite Spurs players being heavily involved in the later stages of the World Cup this summer – and the Welshman pointedly remarks that their players simply need to pull their socks up and play to their ability.
“You’re a footballer, you finish when you’re 35,” the former striker stated. “You play football to the best of your ability, week in, week out.”