Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has told Football.London that he thinks Christian Eriksen may be mentally tired after playing so many games this season.
Spurs are in Premier League action again this weekend as they make the short trip to take on Watford at Vicarage Road on Saturday afternoon.
Pochettino's men are currently enduring a sticky patch, as they have picked up just one point from three Premier League games since the international break, including a 2-1 defeat at Leicester City on Tuesday.
With a 2-0 defeat at Arsenal and a 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion also thrown in there, Spurs are attempting to find their mojo again, but they have now slipped well off the pace in the title race.
Manchester City's 2-1 home win over Southampton on Wednesday night means that Spurs are 16 points behind the league leaders, and are actually closer to bottom club Crystal Palace in terms of points.
Spurs fans are attempting to figure out what the problem is, and they are certainly concerned about the performances of playmaker Christian Eriksen, who has yet to register a goal or an assist since the international break.
Some are worried that Eriksen is exhausted having started every single Premier League game this season, and manager Pochettino has told Football.London that he understands if Eriksen is tired, but more mentally than physically.
Whilst Pochettino added that he doesn't think Dele Alli is mentally tired having been banned for the first three Champions League games, he did add that maybe Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez – who have been regulars in the top flight – could be tired too, with Spurs looking for ways to keep them fresh mentally and physically.
“You know, a player like Christian Eriksen maybe can be a little bit tired - but mental more than physical, because in the last international duty he played two amazing games to try to qualify for the World Cup, and he cannot rest, he cannot stop,” said Pochettino. “Maybe he struggles a little bit but his condition is fantastic because after every game the stats are unbelievable from him. But maybe I can agree that there may be some mental tiredness. It’s maybe possible. But other players? I think no. Dele Alli wasn’t involved in the first three Champions League games and we’ve rotated different players or managed their fitness. I think that is not the reason today why the team has struggled in the last few games to get a positive result.”
“When you feel the pressure, because from the beginning of the season he’s playing, playing, playing, with no time to rest... I say maybe. He’s the only player. Maybe him and Eric Dier that is playing a lot. Maybe Davinson Sanchez. It’s the same group, the players that travel a lot and were involved in nearly all the games. Maybe they can feel a little bit tired about competing, because it’s not because you run and the effect on your physique. It’s your mind as well and then when you’re an offensive player you always expend more energy than in other positions because people expect that you will create something, and for that it’s an amazing energy that you expend. We are trying to provide him and different players more time to rest and recover, with different strategies, and trying to help,” he added.