Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte is “not really happy” that the Premier League will resume just eight days after the World Cup and hinted he might rest players for the Boxing Day match at Brentford.
Out of the 12 Tottenham players who featured in Qatar, Conte has ruled France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Argentina’s Cristian Romero, who played in the final last Sunday, out of Monday’s game.
“It is a strange situation and honestly to play so quickly, only one week after the World Cup, I am not really happy,” Conte said in comments published in British media on Sunday.
“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 at a level that is better than the players who finished the World Cup.
Not at the top
“For this reason I think I have to make the best decision for the game against Brentford,” Conte said, adding that the players who returned from the World Cup are “not at the top” level at the moment.
Rodrigo Bentancur will miss the game due to suspension but has also been dealing with a hamstring issue while Richarlison will be out for three to four weeks due to a hamstring injury he picked up playing up for Brazil at the World Cup.
Conte said Lucas Moura has been “struggling” with a tendon issue.
“It’s a difficult situation because I have a good player in my squad, but he’s never available. It’s like you don’t have him,” he said.
Tottenham are fourth in the table on 29 points after 15 matches, eight points behind leaders Arsenal who have a game in hand.