So I realise I’m probably late to the party with this, but Tottenham’ playing schedule is absolutely mental.
After getting a big win over Southampton last weekend, Spurs were due to travel to Leyton Orient in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday. The game was cancelled after several positive COVID-19 tests for the home side and Spurs received a bye into the next round of the tournament. I then realised, they were playing again on Thursday in the Europa League.
They were forced to travel to Macedonia for a Europa League playoff clash against FC Shkendija, which they won 3-1 thanks to late goals from Heung-Min Son and Harry Kane. They were then back in action at home to Newcastle on Sunday afternoon, less than 72 hours later. They took a 1-0 lead in the first half thanks to Lucas Moura’s bundled finish and after a tough physical battle they looked set for 3 points. However a controversial handball decision went against them in the 95th minute and Callum Wilson equalised, meaning they were held to a 1-1 draw.
Mourinho now must pick his team up to take on Chelsea on Tuesday in the next round of the Carabao Cup, before another Europa League playoff game on Thursday against Maccabi Haifa and then their next Premier League game on Sunday afternoon against Manchester United.
It really is an absolutely criminal schedule to place upon any team and Jose Mourinho has complained about it rightly. To make the draw against Newcastle even worse, they lost winger Heung-Min Son at half-time to a hamstring injury – meaning he is likely to miss a few weeks at least.
So now with another three games inside 6 days, Spurs need to prioritise. Mourinho has accepted that he may have to give up the club’s chances in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday when they take on his former side at Stamford Bridge. After qualifying for the Europa League last season, Mourinho stated that he wanted to challenge for the trophy and deliver the club’s first silverware since 2008. The domestic cups are obviously usually much easier to win than a European competition, but the schedule simply won’t allow it.
With Jose still having a fairly big squad at the moment as the club look to formalise departures, he may need to use the entire playing staff over the next week.
It’s surely something the FA needs to look into though. Being forced to play seven games in 14 days would have absolutely awful and they actually got very fortunate at the fact the Leyton Orient game was called off and it dropped down to six games.
Even then, that is way too high and after making such a big thing about player safety since March, the fact they have allowed this to happen is quite shocking. Mourinho and Tottenham have every right to feel aggrieved but at this point it’s too late. He needs to pick his teams in advance and pray for no injuries before the international break can bring a small break for some players.