Birmingham are about to hit one of the more difficult parts of their season.
They face the prospect of three games in the space of seven days this week, with Derby County tomorrow, Wigan Athletic away on Tuesday, then Middlesbrough at home next Friday night.
Speaking in his press conference yesterday, Clotet spoke about the challenges of having to play so many games in such a short space of time:
“I think everyone needs to be prepared to know that it is very important to keep the team performing well physically. This is more important than any personal preference regarding how many games are played. What I like from this squad is I think everyone understands there are no individual agendas and everyone sacrifices for the team – when we have three games in a week that is even more important. We will assess it game by game.”
Clotet spoke recently about how he is going to manage Jude Bellingham coming through the system at such a young age and slowly becoming a regular in the first team. However, what will be a real test for him this season is how he manages the rest of the squad, but in particular, someone like Lukas Jutkiewicz.
Whilst I have said before that the team is fine as it is, especially in the centre-forward position I do think that we must be careful that we don’t end up relying too much on certain players like him to carry us through the season. There needs to be some level of rest and rotation this season so that we don’t end up giving players burnout.
Though the season may long, we should let the team stay strong. We might be in a difficult situation near the end of the season, and we can’t allow fatigue to be a factor. This won’t be the first time that we have to deal with this sort of fixture congestion this season, so Clotet has to make sure that he gets the team set up right, but at the same time keeping the team competitive.
What about you? Do you think that the squad is too thin to deal with these occasional deluges of games in such a short space of time? Or do you think that with the right amount of rotation, everything should be fine?