Tottenham defender Eric Dier has questioned the Premier League fixture schedule ahead of a grueling run of fixtures ahead of the World Cup.
After playing just once a week for the first month of the campaign, Spurs are now entering a period where they have matches every midweek – apart from an international break at the end of September – until that the season ends for the World Cup in November.
Spurs challenge on three fronts, with Premier League games, the Champions League starting next week and a Carabao Cup tie in November.
Dier doesn’t know why some matches couldn’t have been played earlier in the season.
He said: “We knew the last three weeks wouldn’t represent what the season was going to be like, but now it’s really starting. There are a lot of games.
“I think it’s strange that we had one game a week for three or four weeks, and then all of a sudden you’re playing midweek games until November.
“That doesn’t make much sense to me. But it is what it is.
- West Ham (a) – Wed 31 August
- Fulham (h) – Sat Sept 3
- Marseille (h) – Wed, Sep 7
- Man City (a) – Sat. Sept. 10
- Sporting (a) – Tue 13 Sep
“We have to take care of ourselves as best we can in every way. Our recovery, our professionalism, the way we take care of ourselves is going to be extremely important.
“We had a great pre-season to give us the right base for this period. Yeah, I feel good. We have improved the team, we have a team of a lot of depth.
With such a grueling schedule where they play 18 games in two and a half months, there is bound to be a greater risk of injury, but Dier says they should rise to the challenge.
“I like to play. It doesn’t bother me. For me, it’s not a problem,” he said.
“I like to play games in the middle of the week and I think we should take advantage of that as much as possible.
“I just think the schedule doesn’t make sense in that for the past three or four weeks we’ve had one game a week. It doesn’t make sense to then go until mid-November with one game every midweek.
Spurs travel to West Ham on Wednesday and are then back in action on Saturday.
Boss Antonio Conte, whose side beat Nottingham Forest on Sunday, said: “After Wednesday night we are going to play on Saturday. I think we are the only top-six side to have played three games in six days.
“I don’t want to complain like I’ve said in the past, I don’t want to complain.
“But I think this time we were unlucky and I hope next time someone else will have bad luck like us and not always Tottenham. I want to stress that.