Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has claimed that he has “prioritised rest and recovery” for some of his players, although the Argentine head coach is adamant that his side’s recent poor form isn’t linked to fatigue.
There have been a number of suggestions this season that Spurs have struggled to get back to full fitness after a large portion of their squad reached the latter stages of the World Cup, with players given 21 days rest between the tournament in Russia and the start of the Premier League.
Following three defeats on the bounce, Tottenham have come under even more scrutiny for their fitness levels, largely as Pochettino’s tactics demand such a high intensity. But the 46-year-old insists his players have still been covering more ground than their opponents this season.
“We are good when we run more than the opponents,” Pochettino said, quoted by the Daily Mail. “When we won against teams with similar or better quality than us, we run between six and 10 kilometres more than the opponent.
“This season, it’s not that we don’t run. We ran two kilometres more than Liverpool but we need more. We have different qualities and skills and we need to be focused and run and work hard.”
Pochettino also spoke about how much his side has rotated this season. Seven defenders have featured in three different squads over the last six games, something which the head coach admits has been because of tiredness.
“We are not gamblers,” he added. “Go back to United, after 70 minutes both full-backs ask to leave the pitch because they were tired. It is difficult to cope with a high-level game working hard. They were ready again to play after one week.
‘We provided [Kieran Trippier] more time to recover after the international break to be sure he could play in a very good way against Liverpool. We didn’t train too much because we prioritised rest and recovery.”
Tottenham have to get back to winning ways this weekend when they travel to face Brighton on Saturday, a team who have already claimed three points against Manchester United.