Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo says his club are trying to “anticipate the damage” of Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso defying Premier League rules by joining up with the Argentina national team.
The duo are set to travel to their homeland for World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela, Bolivia and Brazil, with all four countries on the Government’s red list and they will not have exemption from having to quarantine upon their return.
Premier League clubs voted in unison last week not to release players heading to red-list destinations, but Romero and Lo Celso look set to follow Aston Villa pair Emiliano Martinez and Emi Buendia and go anyway.
Doing so would mean they would miss three fixtures while they have to quarantine in a Government-approved hotel and possibly more if they lose match fitness because of their inactivity.
An image shared on Romero’s Instagram account on Sunday showed the four players on board a plane.
Nuno said: “It’s a problem that not only affects us but affects all clubs and all the South American players playing in the Premier League. We have to obey the Government law.
“We will try to do so but at the same time we don’t have any kind of help from FIFA, the Government or the Premier League in support in this situation.
“We know what it means for all of the players to play for their national teams. It’s something they’re very proud of, so what we are trying to do is anticipate the situations. So expecting that not only for the next international break but also there will be a couple more, so we need to be clear.
“We are trying to take care of that situation. Trying to anticipate the damage. Us as a club we are working on that.
“I feel the same, all of us as managers have this problem to try and solve. We cannot stop it but we try and find the best way for so when they return we can get them sooner.
“There are ways and we as a club are trying to provide support for our players.”
Nuno was speaking after watching his side head into the international break on top of the Premier League after a 1-0 win over Watford.
Son Heung-min’s first-half goal saw him become the first Tottenham manager since Arthur Rowe in 1949 to win his first three league games in charge.
Moussa Sissoko lined up for Watford, less than 48 hours after joining Spurs who were surprised to see him in the line-up.
Watford registered the deal before it was completed in order for him to be selected and he set up two chances for the Hornets.
Nuno says there was no issue, though.
“He joined Watford, he played today, we worked together for a few weeks,” he added. “I have huge respect for Moussa, huge and I just want to wish him all the best at Watford because it has been a pleasure.
“I have big admiration for Moussa. A true gentleman.”
Asked whether Sissoko had any part in Tottenham’s preparations for the game, he added: “This week was different because of the Conference League game in midweek, so this is different.
“But there is no issue at all, the moment he joined Watford he became a Watford player so the decision of playing him was with the manager of Watford, we cannot interfere, we did not interfere. Everything is clear, huge respect and admiration.”
Watford had fleeting moments to get back into the game, but never really had the quality.
Boss Xisco Munoz added: “I think it was a very good performance, it was a very good reaction from the last game.
“We understand the game and the contest. I can only say congratulation for our guys, they played very well. They lost, but we put in a very good performance.
“I was a little sad about the goal because the players gave 100 per cent, we had very good balance, never broke the game, we have our chances too.
“I am sad because the players worked very hard to try and give the points. We know sometime the big teams will win.”