Player welfare 'off the scale' says Sean Dyche, as Premier League bosses complain about Festive schedule
A number of managers have hit out at the number of games being played at this time of year, while the ongoing pandemic has also stretched playing resources.
Jurgen Klopp feels the turnaround between Boxing Day fixtures and the game before the New Year is "inhuman,"and also had a dig at Burnley for being one of the clubs resisting a return to five substitutes in Premier League games.
He said: "As an example, Burnley, I’m not sure how many players of them play international football. When our players have three games, they have no games. So they play 38 Premier League games, cup games – another two, three, four – so that makes it 42.
"So we’re talking about an issue that some clubs definitely have, some players definitely have, but it’s decided by other teams. And because we’ve made kind of a competition of it, other teams are like, “Well no, they are better than us” and stuff like this. And that’s a real problem, I have to say."
Thomas Tuchel has added it was "close to being irresponsible" to have to play N'Golo Kante for the full 90 minutes against Wolves recently, after Chelsea failed to get the game postponed, while Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has also spoken out on the subject, but the Clarets boss believes players have never had it better, with greater support on and off the pitch than ever before.
Burnley have gone almost three weeks without a game, due to Covid outbreaks in their opponents' squads seeing their last three games called off, and Dyche said, ahead of Thursday night's trip to Manchester United: "The thing that I find interesting is that I keep hearing this term player welfare.
"And I’ve got to be honest: my players here are fantastically looked after.
"There are lots of demands on the superpowers, but we’ve got strength and conditioning, psychologist support, health and wellbeing, dietitians, a lot of players have home chefs.
"Players are really well looked after.
"Add the challenge of Covid - I’m still struggling to wear a mask inside the building after I’ve been tested, because I can walk down the street without a mask.
"They’ve got the best medical support. It makes me question this idea of player welfare. The welfare is off the scale for me.
"The Christmas period has always been busy and has got less busy over the years.
"The Premier League have attempted to spread games out.
"Look at Frank Lampard, he was knocking out 60 games a season and then England internationals on top. Season after season.
"I don’t remember too much then about player welfare.
"Times change and I like to think I change with them but there has to be something inside you of what your beliefs are in football and go, “come on, let’s get on with the challenge”.
"It’s right in front of us, we’re professional athletes. Whatever comes our way, whatever challenge it is, we’ll do the best we can."