December 5 2013 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Andre Villas-Boas has warned that Tottenham’s players have been put at risk by a fixture schedule that will see them playing three times in six days.
The Lilywhites start their Europa League campaign with a group game against Tromso at White Hart Lane this evening before visiting Cardiff in the Premier League on Sunday – and Villas-Boas was stunned to see his side booked in for a Capital One Cup tie at Aston Villa just two days later.
“I think there will be normal changes [to the squad this evening], bearing in mind that after this game we have not only the Sunday game but the Tuesday game, which I found as an incredible surprise,” said the head coach.
“How can a game be scheduled after two days, immediately, therefore putting the players’ careers at risk with the risk if of injuries?
“The second day of recovery is the most dangerous day for a player to pick up an injury. If this is not taken into account I think it’s bad.
“Obviously other things have to be respected – televised games, fixture organisation, and the police comes into account because of the fixtures that are being played on the Tuesday and Wednesday.
“But the problem is that in the end Tottenham was chosen to play on Tuesday, with only the Monday to recover from the last match, and that puts us in a very difficult position.
“I know it’s a one-off anomaly - the authorities tend to prevent these things from happening - but the reality is that the risk of injury is tremendous because the pace of the game has changed so much that the second day is needed for a full recovery.
“I can understand the reasons why our game against Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup was chosen for the Tuesday, bearing in mind the other fixtures, but I find it absolutely incredible that we have to risk injuries to our players in a game that they play on that Tuesday.
“This amount of fixtures forces us to make some changes in the team but we take the competition [the Europa League] very seriously and we will be very strong.”
Villas-Boas hopes that the experience of last season’s Europa League campaign, when Tottenham reached the quarter-finals, will help them to go even further this time.
“The same ambition is present,” he said. “I think further than the ambition, we have the experience of last year.
“Last year we were trying to change the mentality in some way towards the approach of the competition. This year we don’t have to do that because the players are fully motivated to play in the competition.
“They know what it means, they saw the European champions win the Europa League last season [Chelsea], and how much celebrated a win like that – so they know the prestige of the trophy.
“It’s a trophy that belongs in the history of Tottenham as well, so we have all these ingredients to our advantage to use to our favour. Hopefully we can go past this group stage and go further than we did last year.”
Tottenham will be without the injured Aaron Lennon, Etienna Capoue and Nacer Chadli, while the club are still waiting for Vlad Chiriches’ work permit to arrive, so the Romanian will be unable to make his debut again.
“We have been expecting it any time soon, but it hasn’t arrived so he’s not going to be involved,” said Villas-Boas. “I think for Bulgaria and Romania the process takes a bit longer, and it has been that case. Sometimes it happens a bit quicker.
“At the moment we are waiting for the post to arrive for the player to be registered. As awkward as that may look and sound, that is the reality. Obviously the player is frustrated with the situation but we can’t do anything about it.
“There won’t be dramatic changes to what we did with the Premier League XI that played in the game before, but subtle changes through opportunity and motivation.”
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