Tottenham manager Antonio Conte has conceded he may have to rest players for Saturday’s clash at Bournemouth due to next week’s “final” with Marseille carrying greater importance.
A dramatic Champions League fixture with Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday saw Spurs denied a late winner after Harry Kane’s stoppage-time effort was ruled out for offside, which means they need a point in France on Tuesday to guarantee a place in the knock-out stage.
Cristian Romero is expected to be one of a handful of players “protected” by the Italian, who knows they can make up for lost points domestically later in the campaign.
Conte said: “What I think is that in the Premier League we have a lot of games to play in front of us.
“In the Champions League we want to have more games to play but there is a final on Tuesday and this is the difference between the game tomorrow in the Premier League and a game in the Champions League.
“In the Premier League you can have time to recover. In the Champions League, we are going to play a final.
“Also for this reason my decision has to be to make the best decision and to understand very well who are the players who are really tired because I don’t want to take risk (against Bournemouth) as for us it is a final on Tuesday.”
Rodrigo Bentancur is another who could be rested at the Vitality Stadium, especially with Oliver Skipp raring to go after recently returning to full fitness.
One player who will definitely start is Harry Kane, given the lack of alternatives with Dejan Kulusevski (hamstring) and Richarlison (calf) still injured.
“There was a possibility if you have players to play in his place,” Conte added.
“If Richarlison is out, Kulusevski is out, I have to ask the players to play otherwise we are in trouble.
“But Harry is OK, he stays well, he wants to play, he gives his availability and is always an important player for us.”
Spurs are coming towards the end of a period where they will have played 13 matches in 43 days come November 12.
Even though Conte is keen not to complain over a situation he always knew was on the horizon, the demands are beginning to take their toll on him.
He admitted: “To play every three days, every two-and-a-half days, it’s not simple to recover and it’s difficult to recover for me with the energy!
“I imagine it’s difficult for my players to recover and in this type of situation, the fans of every team have to stay closer to try and push, to try to help the team, every team but not only Tottenham because this type of situation, they need to understand it’s a big, big effort for everybody.
“For sure, we talk a lot about the welfare of the players, but also the welfare of the managers because in this way we put a serious risk to the welfare of the players and the manager.
“I repeat that we don’t play but the stress that we are under before every game, every two days for game after game, analysis, video, to speak to the players, it’s fatigue.
“It’s OK and it’s the same for everybody. I’m not complaining and I’m only answering your question.”
Conte again reiterated his frustration with VAR on Friday and confirmed he had spoken with sporting director Fabio Paratici and Daniel Levy about talking to the relevant authorities about recent decisions against Spurs.
“I spoke with the sporting director and also I sent to a message with our owner, Daniel Levy,” he confirmed.
“I think that sometimes you had to try to go to speak and to protect your club. I have to protect my club and the club has to protect itself, because I understood that to be silent is not good.”