Tottenham Hotspur boss Antonio Conte suggested on Sunday that he might rest his World Cup players in the game at Brentford on Boxing Day that marks the Premier League’s return.
“For the players who played at the World Cup it’s a big effort because they have never stopped and only now after one week, 10 days,” he said in a preview posted on the club website.
“I think that it is different for the players that played in the World Cup.”
He said he would give a chance to those who had to stay behind and train.
“For the players who worked in these four weeks, for sure it is a new start, a fresh start like pre-season.”
Tottenham had players representing Wales, Uruguay and Denmark, who were knocked out at the group stage, as well as South Korea, England, Senegal and Brazil who went out at the quarter-finals or earlier in Qatar.
Argentine Cristian Romero and French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris played every minute of the final and Ivan Perisic appeared for Croatia the day before as they took third place.
“We are really excited (to be back) — honestly, it’s not easy after the World Cup and only eight days when you played the final and semi-final to play so quickly, but it’s okay, it’s a positive on one hand,” Conte said.
“On another hand, you have the players who played the World Cup in a different physical condition, but it’s okay, football during the Christmas period for sure is fantastic to play.
“At the same time, for many players we have to try to push them and to find a good physical condition.”
Romero’s father told La Voz, a newspaper in their hometown of Cordoba, on December 20 that Tottenham were eager to have the World Cup winner back.
“He won’t have much time to enjoy himself. We will see how everything goes. But they already want him back in England”, Quito Romero said.
Conte said the players would be training on Christmas Day.
“It happened also last season,” he said.
“We played on 26 December and then also on the first day of the New Year. You know, in Italy, for us, Christmas is an important period to stay with the family,” he said.
“We have to play and for this reason, on 25 December, we will have the training session, then have lunch with our relatives, then we have to go together to stay in the hotel because the game will be very early on December 26.”