Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho has had an “unreal” issue to deal with week ahead of Spurs’ return to Premier League action, according to Paul Merson.
The North Londoners have a huge game coming up this evening, taking on Manchester City at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The game comes following the last international break of the year, with European teams playing three fixtures – a friendly, or a Euro playoff, plus two Nations League games.
On top of the usual issues concerning internationals – the potential for injury or fatigue – the global health crisis has also complicated things further for clubs.
Needless to say, it’s proven one of the most controversial international breaks ever, and Merson wasn’t happy with it taking place.
In his latest Daily Star column, he gave the example of Spurs boss Mourinho barely having any time to prepare for the City game as one of the problems that has arisen from this latest break.
“Forget about five subs and stop playing meaningless internationals,” wrote the Sky Sports pundit.
“The problem with the idea of bringing five subs back is that the big teams aren’t even using the three they’ve been given right now.
“It’s okay complaining about the workload on players. But why are we playing the Republic of Ireland in a pointless friendly then?
“Let’s be honest. Our B team could have beaten Ireland. What’s the point? It’s a shame what’s happened to Irish football. I don’t know where the players have gone. It’s sad.
“And then we play Iceland in a total dead rubber when we can’t qualify for the Nations League finals any more, so it’s a total waste of time.
“Tottenham have a massive game today against Manchester City. And Jose Mourinho has had one day to get his team ready. One day. Because of that game.
“This is where you see whether Spurs are a threat or not this season. But Mourinho only has 24 hours to prepare. It’s unreal really.”
Save for a handful of nations – Scotland, North Macedonia, Slovakia and Hungary, who qualified for the Euros via the playoffs – it’s not been a good international break for the most part.
However, it’s done, it’s out of the way, the next one isn’t until next March, by which point hopefully the global health crisis will have alleviated a bit and players won’t be at such risk of positive tests and getting sidelined.