Pochettino laughs at congested Spurs schedule

Matt Stead

Mauricio Pochettino can only laugh at the travel demands placed upon Tottenham due to their challenging schedule of fixtures.

Spurs will take a six-hour flight to Baku in Azerbaijan to face Qarabag on Thursday, just over two days before a midday kick-off against Jose Mourinho’s men.

Chelsea have their own European trek to negotiate, as they travel five hours to play Maccabi Tel Aviv, but the Champions League fixture is on Tuesday, giving the Blues an extra 48 hours to recover.

Tottenham managed a strong performance against Arsenal a fortnight ago, at the end of a similarly exhausting period that included three games in six days, but Pochettino believes this week may be even more challenging.

“I laugh. I only smile,” Pochettino said.

“Again, like it was the week when we played Monday, Thursday and Sunday, three times in six days. And now it’s the same.

“Maybe it’s worse because you need to fly nearly six hours and then there is the decision about whether to come straight back or stay, it’s very difficult because both decisions are bad.”

If Tottenham decide to return on Thursday after the match, which kicks off at 6pm, they will land in London in the early hours of Friday morning.

“Maybe we come back, straight back, and we give the players the day off on Friday,” Pochettino said.

“Maybe you need to wait two hours at the airport and for us, it’s better to go straight after the game and get to England as soon as possible, and give maybe Friday off for recovery.”

Pochettino added: “It’s the always the same problem. All the clubs in the Premier League at the beginning of the season want to play on TV because it’s a business.

“But when the moment comes to play we complain. The balance is difficult.”

Tottenham can secure qualification to the knock-out phase with a win over Qarabag while victory over Chelsea would put them 13 points clear of the champions in the race for the top four.