Tottenham Hotspur are on a run of poor results right now, which is leading to the inevitable reports of “something is wrong within the club” in the media. That’s fine, and expected to some degree. The one that’s getting the most attention at the moment is a report in the Times of London (£) by Matt Hughes that suggests that several members of Spurs’ first team are complaining of physical and mental exhaustion, and are asking for more time off after a grueling summer and an intense opening part of the Premier League season.
The report, which has no player quotes and relies entirely on background sources, mentions how players were kept at Spurs Lodge to sleep after returning late from Italy, and implies that some of Spurs’ World Cup players feel like they’re being worked too hard, and have felt this way for a while.
It’s hard to know how seriously to take this report. On the one hand, it’s completely plausible, and matches up with any Spurs fan’s reading of their on-pitch performances and body language. Players, especially Harry Kane, Mousa Dembele, and Eric Dier, have looked positively knackered at the ends of recent matches, and the team as a whole looks like it’s lacking sharpness. Of COURSE they’re tired, and the implication is that if they’re willing to go on background to the press about their feelings, they must be REALLY tired, and probably a little frustrated.
On the other hand, Pochettino’s vigorous training regimen has been a known commodity for four years now, and hasn’t really ever changed. Spurs have been somewhat slow starters for a couple of seasons running now, but eventually hit their stride midway through the first half of the season once players get fit. Team injuries, especially in midfield, has possibly forced Pochettino to rely on a few players more than he might normally, and that could be contributing to some of this.
I don’t know. In the end I wouldn’t read too much into it. It’s probably true that there are tired players who are frustrated after a string of narrow defeats, but I’m not quite ready to make a leap to suggesting that there’s a serious problem in the locker room. But if Spurs don’t get things turned around soon, that could change.