Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino says trying to keep players who feature for their national teams injury-free is like “being in the circus”.
Spurs goalkeeper Hugo Lloris will be out for around four weeks after injuring his hamstring against Everton.
He played 58 times last season for club and country, including at Euro 2016, and Pochettino blames competition organisers for the busy calendar.
“They are not machines,” said the Argentine, 44.
“The problem is that in football, the managers and players need to make the decisions about the competitions but sometimes the decisions are always from the people who never play football.”
Pochettino, whose side face Crystal Palace on Saturday, insists managers cannot win either way.
“We need to be like we are in the circus – juggling,” he added. “Come on, all the pressure is on the managers, always. If you put a player in who you don’t give holidays and he gets injured, it’s your fault.
“If you give rest and he doesn’t play in the commercial games, you are guilty. Always it is the manager’s fault, always, always.
“The problem is the organisation of the competition. You cannot play the Euros and start [the Premier League] on 13 August. How can you give rest to the players after the whole season?”
Pochettino left behind a majority of the players who featured at Euro 2016 for Tottenham’s pre-season tour of Australia in July, but fielded a full-strength side against Everton in the club’s Premier League opener last Saturday.
“If you give rest in training and say, ‘I don’t want to use this player that was involved in the Euros’ and you have no positive results – the media, the supporters, the board and the president kill me,” added Pochettino.
“There is nothing to win, always lose. If you don’t win the game, you are guilty. Our players are athletes, special athletes. They need pre-season, they need to train properly, they need to rest, they need good food, it’s impossible to compete when the amount of competitions is very high.”
England striker Harry Kane is starting his second successive season on the back of a major international tournament, having played at the European Under-21 Championships 14 months ago.
Pochettino cited compatriot Diego Maradona, agreeing with his fellow former Argentina international that the game’s decision-makers are “people who never touch the football”.
“To be ready to compete they need time. It is not only ‘if you pay good money they must be ready’,” he said. “Like Harry Kane – no holiday, no holiday, no holiday – he plays in the under-21s then he plays in the Euros. He is not a machine.
“You are in competition for 11-and-a-half months and the players, because you pay them good salaries, don’t deserve the holidays? Come on. And the families? The sons? The kids?”
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