Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho says his squad is too big and he is finding it difficult to manage.
Spurs’ group is expected to rise to 28 with the imminent arrivals of Gareth Bale and Sergio Reguilon from Real Madrid and Mourinho believes having so many players is unmanageable, even though they are in a run of nine games in 22 days in three competitions.
The Portuguese would like to trim his squad and the likes of Juan Foyth, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Serge Aurier, Danny Rose and Paulo Gazzaniga could all be allowed to leave before the transfer window shuts.
There is also growing speculation that Dele Alli is set to move on after he was one of eight players who did not travel with the squad to Bulgaria for their Europa League second-round qualifier, but Spurs are still expecting him to be at the club when the window closes.
Mourinho said ahead of Sunday lunchtime’s trip to Southampton: “To be honest, I don’t like the number of players I have at the moment in my squad. It’s very, very difficult to manage in every aspect of my job. Very, very difficult to manage this situation.
“Too many players – you are asking me about Dele, but it’s Dele plus another seven. Can they come back to the squad? Of course they can. It’s a question of training, think about the game plan, the players that are going to start, see the balance of the squad on the bench.
“I think it’s another brilliant decision to have (only) seven players on the bench, the only country with that. I would like to understand why.
“But it’s a big limitation for us coaches because we always want to have more options on the bench and it could give us the chance to rest more players, to manage the difficult situation for the majority of clubs in England.
“But when they have the decision of us playing Sunday 12pm, Tuesday and Thursday and they do this for two weeks then anything is possible.”
Spurs travel to St Mary’s on Sunday where they will come up against striker Danny Ings – a player they have enquired about but received short shrift from Saints.
Ings was called up to the recent England squad after a fine goal-scoring season last year, including three against Spurs.
Mourinho likes him as a player and is concerned about the threat he will pose on Sunday.
“He’s a threat, he’s a player that scores a lot of goals and, every time he plays against us, he gave us lots of problems so he’s a player that we have to respect,” Mourinho said.
“If they keep the system that they normally play then it will be Ings and another one and, for the other one, they have lots of options because they have four or five different strikers, going from Shane Long, the most experienced one, to younger ones, Che Adams, all the other ones they have. They have lots of solutions to play a second striker to play with Danny Ings.
“So, yes, very, very difficult.”