Conte 'not happy' to resume season a week after World Cup final

Spurs managers hints at resting players when Premier League restarts on Boxing Day

Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte will have to consider the fitness levels of key players like Harry Kane when the Premier League resumes. PA
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Tottenham manager Antonio Conte revealed he is "not really happy" that the Premier League will restart just eight days after the World Cup final and hinted he might be forced to rest players for the Boxing Day match at Brentford.

Of the 12 Spurs players who featured at the tournament in Qatar, Conte has ruled France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Argentina's Cristian Romero, who played in the final, out of Monday's game.

The manager will also have to make a decision on Croatia's Ivan Perisic as well as England pair Harry Kane and Eric Dier after the trio all featured in the last eight.

"It is a strange situation and honestly to play so quickly – only one week after the World Cup – I am not really happy," Conte was quoted as saying by the Press Association.

"On the one hand, you are happy because for my club, Tottenham, to have 12 players at the World Cup, it means that we are in the right way to try to be competitive and to try in the future to win something.

"But it is normal that when you have so many players play a tournament like this, especially during the season, that now it is not easy because the physical condition is not at the top."

Conte said giving players rest and making a quick start when the league resumes is a difficult balancing act.

"It is impossible to give them a lot of rest and for sure with the players that didn't play the World Cup and we work for four weeks, now they are in a great physical condition.

"We work a lot on the tactical aspect and physical aspect. Now they are at a level that is better than the players who finished the World Cup.

"For this reason I think I have to make the best decision for the game against Brentford. On one side I have players who I worked with for four weeks really well and on the other side, I have players who worked at the World Cup and are not at the top at the moment."

Romero is definitely out of Monday's game and Lloris will start on the bench, Conte revealed.

Rodrigo Bentancur will also miss out due to suspension but has also been nursing a minor hamstring issue. The same injury will sideline Richarlison for a month and Lucas Moura's problem with his tendon continues.

Earlier, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp had highlighted the challenges facing clubs.

"For the players who played in the World Cup, the whole year will be incredibly intense," Klopp said.

"That's really, really, really tough. We will have to see how we deal with that, and we will be really careful with the information we get.

"That makes planning really difficult for the next game because we were 100 per cent clear what we want to do against City (in the League Cup where Liverpool lost) and then you have to change in the last second pretty much, that’s not cool but it’s the situation and that might happen against Villa as well so we need to be flexible."

Liverpool resume their campaign against Aston Villa on Monday.

Updated: December 25, 2022, 12:12 PM