LONDON (Reuters) – Tottenham Hotspur have been penalised with a hectic schedule compared with other teams and must speak to the Premier League to ease their burden and avoid often playing three times in a week, manager Antonio Conte said on Tuesday.
Spurs have just played three Premier League games in seven days against Nottingham Forest, West Ham United and Fulham and face three more matches in a week starting with Wednesday’s Champions League group opener at home to Olympique Marseille.
Both the Premier League and Champions League have been trying to cram in fixtures ahead of a break in the season from November to December for the World Cup in Qatar.
The Champions League group stage will be wrapped up by the first week of November instead of the usual December finish.
“Honestly to see this schedule is incredible, it’s crazy. I think this is the first time in my career I’ve seen a schedule like this. Compared to the other teams Tottenham have been penalised a lot, we have been unlucky,” Conte told reporters.
“I’ve spoken to the club, we need to pay great attention and speak to the Premier League. One day more or less (between games) can completely change your life and you can drop points. I think this is not good for a team like Tottenham.”
Spurs and Marseille come into the match on the back of an unbeaten start to the league season and Conte praised his counterpart Igor Tudor – his former team mate at Juventus.
“Igor is a friend and we played together at Juve for many years. Really good guy, really happy to see him on the bench in an important club in Europe,” Conte said.
“He’s doing a really good job, he likes to work a lot and his team has an idea (that is) very clear. I wish him all the best, for him and Marseille — apart from two games against us!”
Conte said Brazilian forward Lucas Moura was still unavailable due to inflammation in his tendon. “I hope to recover him very soon as we need him up front,” he added.
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris)