The Premier League is a tough nut to crack on a good day.
And this season is proving to be a nightmare. The season is not like an usual one and has been cramped up inside a period of 7 months with a resting period of a little under a month from last season.
And the PL has now decided to rule against the use of 5 subs for domestic matches which has left the top six bosses fuming as they have to play once every three days on an average.
Reporter: You can use five substitutes in Europe but that was voted against in the Premier League. Given the options in your squad, I’m sure you wanted to play more players. Looking at your rivals struggling with injuries, would you have liked to see five subs in the Premier League this season?
Ole: “One hundred per cent. And I don’t understand, and cannot believe, that the vote went against because we have to look after the players; we have to think about the players.
This season is the most demanding season of all. I can see the point why clubs voted against, but if you take a step back and think about these professional footballers and their mental and physical health, I think the only sensible solution would have been to give us the opportunity to rest players more.
We’ve already seen loads of injuries in the Premier League, I know Pep [Guardiola] has been talking about it, and other managers. We as managers, as clubs, as medical staff have to look after them. That is why we have to rest players at certain times. So, yeah, I would have liked to have five subs.”
Klopp: He said: “So, it’s about we compress a normal season in a shorter period, which will be a proper challenge, especially with the wonderful rule we set up with 18 [players in the squad] and three [substitutes to make] pretty much.
“It’s only about player welfare, by the way – I wanted to say that, nothing else, but I don’t know why we have to discuss this at all.
“Like the whole world is doing, at the least the whole of Europe, but that’s how it is. It will just be difficult, but it is always difficult so that’s not new.”
Lampard said: “The ball was certainly dropped when the Premier League turned away from having five subs,” he said.
“These are unprecedented times in terms of situations for football. It will carry on, it’s not going anywhere in the short term.
“The demands on players are huge for every club. I’m not just talking about my squad, I’m talking about every football player that is being asked to play day after day and the injury risk. It has changed the landscape.
“We’ll try to manage it as well as we can. We’re fortunate we have a big squad here.
“At the same time we want to do our best, the pressure is on and the players want to get the right results.
“It could certainly have a big effect this year, more than any other year. It will be a season like no other and none of us can control that. We can’t control the injuries that come upon us at different times.
“You can’t always read them whether they are impact injuries like (Virgil) Van Dijk, which was big news, or muscle injuries that we are seeing more of at this stage of the season.”
Pep: “I don’t understand why in this incredible period when everyone is concerned about Covid-19 and everyone is not allowed to go to restaurants or should observe social distance and is not allowed to do what you want to do – in this incredible schedule we have after the pandemic, and (after) we finished the season late and started quickly – how we cannot protect the players with five substitutions. Instead we stick to three.”
“When the argument is that it favours the top five or top six, it’s because the people don’t understand absolutely anything.
“The guys who are going to play (in teams) below the top five or six teams – the teams that people suggest are the stronger – they have the same problem as all of them.
“They have games every three days, and there is a way just to protect the players.”
“We have to protect the business, yes, but we have to protect the players, and with five substitutions we protect the players.
“Forget about tactics, forget about which favourite team is going well. But I don’t decide these kind of situations.”