The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Eriksson in a ‘crazy situation’

London: England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson says being forced to keep his players fit for an important international match a month after the end of the domestic season is a “crazy situation”.

England play a friendly against Serbia and Montenegro in Leicester Tuesday to prepare for the June 11 Euro 2004 qualifier against Slovakia.

But with the Premier League season having finished on May 11 Eriksson has had a difficult task balancing fitness and rest for his squad. “It’s a crazy situation that you have to keep the players fit for a month after the season finishes,” the Swede said.

“Fifa, Uefa, the FA, the Premier League, we should take courses in planning. We have eight or nine players out who would be in the squad — Italy have one.

“I read that during the last 18 years there has only been one English team in the European Cup final and if we don’t start to think it could be another 18 years.

“When we come to the end of March and into April players are tired. There are too many games in too short a period. It’s bad for the Premier League clubs and bad for the national team when we come to the end of the season.

“No one can convince me that Arsenal and Manchester United are worse than Milan, Inter and Juventus because they are not. I’ve been in Italy for a long time and the reason we are not in the final is that we are playing too much football in too short a time and the risk of injuries is much higher.” (Reuters)

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