London - Mauricio Pochettino accepts he is pushing his Tottenham squad to the limit as he counts the cost of their World Cup exploits.
Out of the 12 Spurs players that went to Russia in the summer, only Harry Kane, Toby Alderweireld and Son Heung-min have not spent time out this season with muscle injuries.
Davinson Sanchez and Kieran Trippier were the latest stars to head for the treatment room before the recent international break and neither is expected back until next month.
Nine Spurs players were involved in Russia until the final weekend and did not return to Tottenham until the eve of the Premier League season.
Pochettino, whose Tottenham side play Chelsea this weekend, would prefer his young squad to be relaxing in the summer rather than playing football for 12 months.
"Today, we're in a period where the technology and the knowledge of sports science and the medical staff are fantastic -- they can provide the best help," he said.
"But we're pushing players to the limit. The line between getting injured or not is so thin.
"We don't realise that we're playing with the health of the players. They're human. It's so tough. They are young. They need to enjoy life, too."
Pochettino's team selection has come under intense scrutiny this season as he tries to perform a balancing act between resting his players and fielding a strong side.
But the Argentine, whose side are fourth in the Premier League, a point behind third-placed Chelsea, knows that ultimately it is the club that suffers.
He said: "How do we manage that situation? We put a lot of emphasis on looking after them and...try to help them.
"But in the end, when the competition arrives, the competition does not wait for you. It does not understand you're tired and you haven't had holidays. And then who pays? The club pays.
"I understand the decision of the national teams' coaching staff. But who looks after the players? When we rotate the players, the fans or you ask, 'Why not play him?'
"Because they need to rest. And sometimes it's difficult to compete because it's not only running. It's the energy you spend in your mind and if you're tired it affects your body."