Jose Mourinho appears to have already conceded defeat against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup tonight and has predicted that Tottenham’s punishing fixture schedule will lead to a spate of injuries.
With more than £2 million guaranteed for reaching the group phase of the Europa League – and the competition’s wider potential route into the Champions League – Mourinho said that he would be forced to prioritise Thursday’s match against Maccabi Haifa rather than a London derby against his former club.
Mourinho also implied that Harry Kane would be rested against Chelsea and, when asked if Spurs had a “real chance” of progressing in the competition, he quipped: “You’re joking or you’re serious? Chelsea played Saturday (against West Brom), they have Sunday and Monday (to train or rest), then they play Tuesday, and then they play again on the weekend.
“So their fantastic squad, if the manager decides not to rotate, he can perfectly play with the players that he wants. Forgetting the past Thursday, we played on the Sunday, now we play on the Tuesday, we play on the Thursday, we play on the Sunday again,” he added.
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Son Heung-min was forced off at half-time of Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Newcastle with a hamstring injury that Mourinho now fears will result in a “long” lay-off. With Gareth Bale also still recovering from a knee injury, Mourinho intends to rest players against Chelsea but says more injuries are inevitable – Tottenham have been faced with eight matches in 22 days.
Asked if he would rotate his squad to avoid injuries, Mourinho said: “If you do that, and we are going to do that, we know the consequences of it because not every player is the same. And not every player has the same group dynamic because we have clearly a spine – obviously you lose potential.”