• Premier League

AVB: Fixture planners putting players' careers at risk

ESPN staff
September 18, 2013
Andre Villas-Boas is furious about Spurs' imminent fixture pile-up © PA Photos

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has accused the game's fixture planners of "putting the careers of players at risk" after his side were handed a schedule that will see them play three games in six days.

Spurs will play Tromso in the Europa League on Thursday night before facing a Premier League trip to Cardiff on Sunday and a Capital One Cup tie at Aston Villa on Tuesday, with Villas-Boas claiming he was "incredibly surprised" by the decision to move the third of those games forward by 24 hours to fit in with demands of TV broadcasters.

Clearly infuriated by the switch of fixtures, Villas-Boas admitted he would be forced into plenty of changes in his line-ups for the three games as he looks to avoid the threat of injuries to key players.

"I can see why our game in the Capital One Cup was chosen for TV, but I find it incredible that we have to risk injuries to players to play on Tuesday," said Villas-Boas. "How can a game be scheduled after two days? You put players' careers at risk, you risk more injuries.

"It puts the players in a very difficult situation. Obviously, we can do squad rotation to make ourselves strong, but the second day of recovery after a game is the most dangerous day for a player to pick up an injury.

"This has to be taken into account. We are chosen to play on Tuesday, with only one day recovering after a match, this is very, very difficult.

"If the players expressed it more publicly, this would help. Maybe it is a one-off, the authorities normally prevent this from happening, but the risk of injury is tremendous. The risk we are subjected to is much higher."

Despite his concerns over the workload about to be thrust onto his squad, Villas-Boas insisted he will not alter his philosophy for Europa League games as he continues to promote the virtues of UEFA's second string competition.

"The same ambition is present as it was last season and now we have the experience of last year as well," he added. "We take this competition very seriously.

"Last year, we had to change the mentality of the competition, but now the players are fully motivated for this competition. They saw the European champions with the Europa League, they saw how much they celebrated.

"They know the prestige of the trophy, it belongs in Tottenham's history as well. Hopefully we can come through the group stage and progress further than we did last season."

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