Ralph Hasenhüttl admits he may have to manage the minutes of his Southampton players over the traditional hectic festive period.
Whilst the boss reported no injuries ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Manchester City at St Mary’s, Saints’ third match in seven days does present a challenge in itself.
Saints were 1-0 victors last time the two teams met, back in July.
“We must always be careful – we have a few players who are coming back from longer injuries, and three games in a week over 90 minutes is not a good idea,” Hasenhüttl said.
“We must be careful, but it depends how fit the player is. We have a few tired bodies, but the rest is ok.”
The manager also gave his opinion on Premier League clubs again voting against the use of five substitutes, although the number of players on the bench will increase from seven to nine, starting this weekend.
“We take it how it is,” he said. “We were voting for the five subs because I was always a friend of having more subs, even in Germany, and especially in this time over Christmas I think it would be helpful.
“To have more players on the bench is not really helpful. I feel it now when we have this intense three games a week schedule – it is definitely something that could help you. When you have five subs you can rotate easier.
“Now it’s always thinking about whether they need a rest from the beginning, or maybe taking 45 minutes, but it’s always difficult going into a game knowing a player doesn’t have the power for 90 minutes because he is feeling a little bit tired.
“It’s a decision we have to take – we have to look carefully at how fit the players are, and then find the right XI.”