Wolves coach Nuno Espirito Santo said he disagreed with the German’s suggestion for the Premier League to adopt five subs, in light of fixture scheduling issues, as reported in the Echo.
Though the former Porto goalkeeper did support Jurgen Klopp’s complaints about the scheduling itself, the Portuguese was adamant that changing the number of substitutions allowed wouldn’t solve the issue.
“I still believe there is not enough evidence that the solution is about three or five substitutions,” Espirito Santo said. “I think what is wrong is the schedule – that is wrong due to the pandemic everybody understands that. The problem is the schedule. It’s not about the substitutions, there is not a study that tells you the substitutions are going to stop the injuries and (improve) the welfare of the players.”
While we appreciate the honesty from the Wolves manager, we take exception to the claim that extra substitutions wouldn’t improve player welfare.
Strangely, Espirito Santo appears to contradict himself with his later thoughts, highlighting the tactical nature of substitutions, which are often made without concern for player wellbeing.
But isn’t that exactly the problem?
As Klopp noted in his pre-match presser, as covered by BBC Sport, with so many players ‘on the edge’ during games, managers can’t use up all their subs, for fear of having to play on with only ten men; there’s no room for considerations around player welfare.
While we at the EOTK would agree that the availability of additional subs would not completely resolve the troublesome fixture schedule, it would enable coaches to make decisions dictated by player safety, as well as offering tactical flexibility.
We hope to see a few of the league’s sides take this into account and change their minds on the issue – for the good of the players.