Mauricio Pochettino has bemoaned the lack of rest between Euro 2016 and the start of the Premier League season and suggests “all the pressure is on the managers”.
Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris will be out for around four weeks after injuring his hamstring against Everton last weekend and Pochettino was forced to deny accusations his captain needed a longer rest.
Lloris played 58 matches last season for club and country, including all seven at Euro 2016, with France’s final defeat to Portugal coming 34 days before Tottenham’s opener at Goodison Park.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has also come under scrutiny for granting France defender Laurent Koscielny extra time off after The Gunners were beaten 4-3 by Liverpool on Sunday. Aaron Ramsey, who played five games for Wales at the Euros, started but injured his hamstring in the second half.
Pochettino, whose side Spurs host Crystal Palace on Saturday, concludes that either way, managers cannot win.
“We need to be like we are in the circus, juggling,” Pochettino said. “Come on, all the pressure is on the managers, always. If you put a player who you don’t give holidays and he gets injured, it’s your fault.
“If you give rest and he doesn’t play in the commercial games, you are guilty. Always it is the manager’s fault, always, always.
“The problem is the organisation of the competition. You cannot play the Euros and start [the Premier League] on August 13. How can you give rest to the players after the whole season?”
Pochettino left behind all but one of his Euro 2016 players during Tottenham’s pre-season tour of Australia in July but fielded a full-strength side against Everton, including Harry Kane.
Kane is starting his second successive season on the back of a major international tournament, having played for England at the European Under-21 Championships 14 months ago.
“If you give rest in training and say, ‘I don’t want to use this player that was involved in the Euros’ and you have no positive results – the media, the supporters, the board and the president kill me,” Pochettino said.
“There is nothing to win, always lose. If you don’t win the game, you are guilty. Our players are athletes, special athletes. They need pre-season, they need to train properly, they need to rest, they need good food, it’s impossible to compete when the amount of competitions is very high.
“To be ready to compete they need time. It is not only ‘if you pay good money they must be ready’. Like Harry Kane – no holiday, no holiday, no holiday – he plays in the Under-21s then he plays in the Euros. He is not a machine.”
Pochettino’s methods are particularly demanding, with his double training sessions and high-energy style of play, but the Argentinian believes more should be done to protect players from exhaustion.
“You are in competition for 11 and a half months and the players, because you pay them good salaries, don’t deserve the holidays? Come on. And the families? The sons? The kids? They are not machines,” Pochettino said.
“The problem is that in football, the managers and players need to make the decisions about the competitions but sometimes the decisions are always from the people who never play football.
“I agree with (Diego) Maradona sometimes when he complains about football: the people who take the decisions about football are people who never touch the football and that is the problem. That is the problem.
“But it is difficult to change because in between business, football, sports, there are many things that happen. And as we always say, football is not an ordinary business.”