SEVERAL Sunderland players in danger of pushing themselves too hard need to use the international break to ease back in training, says Gus Poyet.
Will Buckley, Santiago Vergini and Anthony Reveillere are three players that Poyet has identified as potentially at risk as they drive themselves on to be available for first-team selection.
And the trio will be told ‘less is more’ this week as the training staff focuses on recuperation as much as first-team sharpness.
Poyet said: “We know that we needed to slow down a couple of players this week.
“Buckley is one of them.
“It’s a good time for him to slow down because he’s been playing more than ever and maybe the problem with Bocka is that he has been playing Saturday-Tuesday-Saturday.
“In the Championship, there’s so many games and he’s come into our season off that.
“Here, it’s more week to week – so maybe that will help him and his strength.
“This will be a good time for him to slow down.
“Santi as well.
“With the travelling in the last international break and then playing for us, it has been tough for him.
“And then there’s Anthony.
“After all the adrenaline, I’m sure he’s going to go flat this week and maybe go back to France and do things with his family that he needs to do.”
Poyet knows that he cannot afford to take too many risks with a squad which lacks depth.
The shortage of reinforcements was underlined in Sunday’s game against Everton when Ricky Alvarez, Emanuele Giaccherini, Patrick van Aanholt and Billy Jones were sidelined with injury while Lee Cattermole was suspended.
That led to exile Danny Graham being drafted into the squad while teenage left-back Tommy Robson received his first call-up to the senior side.
And while the efforts of Buckley, Vergini and Reveillere have enabled them to be involved in recent games, Poyet appreciates that over-training can be just as damaging for his players as under-training.