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Son Heung-min makes refreshing claim as he slams footballers whinging about fixture pile-up

Son Heung-min makes a rather refreshing claim as he slams a number of footballers that have recently been whinging about a fixture pile-up.

Tottenham are getting ready to play as many as ten games in just four-and-a-half weeks starting with Wednesday’s meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt in the Champions League.

While the South Korean acknowledges that it is “really, really difficult” to manage the demands of the modern game, players need to remember just how lucky they are at times, to be playing the game they love.

Son said: “It is hard to be honest. Travelling and being away from home, it’s not easy.

“But we’re born to do this and everyone dreams about it so we don’t have time to complain.

“When you think about, when you’re a kid what was your dream? Probably everyone is going to say playing in the Premier League.

“So we’re living the dream and we can never forget these moments.”

Son, who made 55 appeared for club and country last season, added: “I know there are tired moments and it’s mentally and physically really, really difficult.

“But we were born to do this, we love to do this and we should enjoy it.

“Obviously the more you enjoy it, the more happiness will be here. I know it’s tough moments but we should bring more happiness and it will be more enjoyable.”

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Antonio Conte will hope his side can continue their winning form, having just beaten Brighton at the weekend, Spurs sit second in Group D, but have struggled to create clear cut chances in Frankfurt last week and fell to defeat away to Sporting Lisbon in their second group stage fixture.

Now, with back-to-back home games against Frankfurt and Sporting, Son wants his team-mates to step up.

He said: “Everyone knows how important that game [Frankfurt] is.

“To be honest we were not happy with the result at Frankfurt.

“I think it’s a really good point because a point away from home is always difficult in the Champions League and any league game as well. But we had a chance to win the game so we were really frustrated, everybody.

“I think the two home games, because we played two really difficult away games in the Champions League, we should show we’re a really strong team like against Brighton.

“It’s a massive game.”

Earlier this season, a fuming Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp compared the fixture pile-up to climate crisis as players face as many as 76 games.

The German said: “Everyone knows it is not right. Something has to change.

“It is like with the climate. We all know we have to change but nobody is saying what we have to do. If you go to the final of the World Cup, win or lose, there will be seven games.

“And then there will also be a third-placed game. And the league starts a week later.

“It is just not OK — but it was decided long ago. Everyone says it is for the right reasons…

“I was not angry at all before I came here — but then we start talking about it and I get really angry.

“Why don’t we just talk about it and do it properly.

“Let’s say, ‘Ladies and gentleman, Fifa, Uefa, the Premier League and the FA, let’s start talking to each other about this issue’.

“There must be one meeting where they all sit together and the only subject is the most important part of this game — the players.

“Some managers will talk about it from time to time but all the rest have their own interests and that does not make it easy.

“This World Cup happens at the wrong moment for the wrong reasons — but everything is fine.”

Conte also urged Tottenham to put more pressure on Premier League chiefs to lighten their “crazy” fixture load.

He said: “To see this schedule is incredible.

“It’s just crazy because we played three games in six days against Nottingham Forest, West Ham and Fulham.

“I think maybe this is the first time in my career I see a schedule like this.

“Honestly, I try to check the schedule of the other teams and I have seen that in this situation, Tottenham they penalise a lot — they penalise a lot our club and our team.

“I think in this situation we are unlucky. But I think in the future, and also I spoke with the club, we have to pay great attention to also speak to the Premier League.

“We have to pay attention when there is this type of schedule.

“One day more, one day less, can change totally your life and you can drop points.

“This is no good for a team like Tottenham. When you want to start to think as a winner, you have to take care of the details.

“And the schedule is a detail that is very important for every club, especially for one that wants to fight for something important. I think we can do much better for the future.”

Declan Rice replied to Sky Sports’ suggestion that he was hitting out against the fixture pile-up in the weeks before the World Cup by telling the broadcaster to watch the full press conference where he stated he loved playing the game.

The Hammers are one of the worst teams affected, facing 12 games in 45 days. The club’s Europa League campaign last season had a prolonged effect on the Irons with Rice working out he personally had played 68 matches in the calendar year between June 2021 and 2022.

However, Rice has responded to Sky Sports’ Twitter video which suggested that he had ‘hit out’ at the fixture schedule.

The clip, which the England international believes has been taken out of context, carried the caption: “’From June to June I played 68 games, that’s an OBSCENE amount of games!’ West Ham captain Declan Rice has hit out at the busy football schedule.”

In the 45 second video the 23-year-old said: “Last year from June to June, I played 68 games in the year. That’s an obscene amount of games. You’ve got to stay fit, you know, you’ve got to eat the right things and nutrition has to be good. You have to be spot on for the whole year and every game I walk off and I’m knackered.

“I mean obviously there are big games for West Ham, big games for England, so I don’t want to get injured or do anything silly. Of course, there’s a big World Cup coming up. But at the moment, the focus is West Ham because we haven’t had the greatest starts in the league. We don’t want to be where we are in the table.

“We want to be back up in European spots and pushing up that end of the table, so obviously there are big games for England but West Ham are the focus at the moment.”

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