Jose Mourinho has claimed he has “too many players” in his Tottenham squad before complaining about an overbearing fixture list.
Spurs laboured past nine-man Lokomotiv Plovdiv in the second qualifying round of the Europea League on Thursday, with Mourinho forced to leave eight first-team players at home, including Dele Alli.
Asked whether Alli would return to the side against Southampton this weekend, Mourinho suggested he has too many options in midfield.
He said: “You ask me about Dele – you could ask me about the other seven players we left behind.
“To be honest I don’t like the number of players I have in my squad. It is very, very difficult to manage in every aspect of my job. Very difficult to manage this situation, too many players.”
Mourinho then sarcastically criticised the Premier League’s decision to cut back from nine substitutes, an allowance imposed after last season’s restart in June, to the standard seven.
“I think it’s another brilliant decision to only have seven players on the bench, the only country with that,” he said. “It is a big limitation for coaches. I also think [having nine players] could give us more chance to rest more players to manage the situation.”
But despite moaning about the difficulty in managing so many players and keeping them happy, Mourinho also complained about the number of games Spurs have to play.
Tottenham face the Southampton on Sunday, Leyton Orient in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday and then travel to Macedonia to play Shkendija on Thursday. If results go their way they could end up playing nine games in 21 days.
Mourinho added: “This is a joke, a total joke, but here we go. We are very lucky that Leyton Orient beat Plymouth, because Plymouth would be very, very far for us. It is dramatic but I prefer this drama and to be in the competition.”
Lucky you’ve got so many players to choose from then, Jose.