Son Heung-min labelled Tottenham’s Premier League schedule as “madness” but bemoaned the decision to substitute him against Arsenal as he chases the Golden Boot award.
Antonio Conte’s side were cruising at 3-0 up against Arsenal on Thursday after a Harry Kane double and strike from Son, who was removed in the 72nd minute for Steven Bergwijn after adding to his impressive tally.
Son has scored 21 non-penalty goals in the Premier League this season, with only Harry Kane ever netting more goals, excluding penalties, in a single season in the competition for Spurs.
Meanwhile, only Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, who has managed 22 goals, has scored more times than Son in the English top flight this term, teeing up a hotly contested race for the Golden Boot.
The South Korea international admitted he was frustrated to be taken off as he chases the personal accolade, but understands why given the short turnaround to face Burnley on Sunday.
“To be honest looking at the schedule, it is madness,” Son said. “We are playing Thursday night and Sunday with a really early kick-off.
“It is a really quick turnaround, we need to do everything to recover: good food, good sleep and get ready to go again.
“It would always be good to have a [later] kick-off [on Sunday], but if you win the early kick-off it is always good. It feels like you wake up and you go to play the game.
“Especially Thursday to Sunday is a really quick turnaround. But this is the schedule, we can’t change it and we need to be ready for every situation which we will do.
“I will try my best to sleep. But if I struggle what can I do? If I am struggling I still have to try my best to recover. For me sleep is one of the most important things to recover and I’ll do my best.”
21 – Son Heung-min has scored 21 non-penalty goals in the Premier League this season, with only Harry Kane ever netting more goals, excluding penalties, in a single season in the competition for Spurs (28 in 2017-18 and 24 in 2016-17). Volume. pic.twitter.com/46s5vqqSP9
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) May 12, 2022
As for being brought off, Son is more interested in how the team does as Tottenham sit one point behind fourth-placed Arsenal with two games to play.
“I am always not happy at coming off because I want to be on the pitch because I love playing football and I want to help the team,” he added.
“I can understand afterwards but at the moment you are not angry but frustrated because you are passionate on the pitch. I can understand why because we have a really quick game on Sunday.
“I can’t promise I will score but I will do my best and I will do my best for the team and if I don’t score I will do my best.
“[The Golden Boot] would be nice but for us it is important for us to finish in the top four. Against Arsenal, performance-wise it was fantastic and I am very proud for the lads and well deserved.
“Obviously it’s a good thing that you are racing for the Golden Boot, but I have said a few times that it is important to finish in the top four than anything else.
“So 100 per cent I would be happy [if we qualify but I don’t score].”
Antonio, Antonio, Antoniooooooo pic.twitter.com/qwv8QxpcGU
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) May 14, 2022
Conte masterminded Spurs’ biggest league win over fierce rivals Arsenal since April 1983 (5-0) and Son was quick to credit the Italian manager.
“He has been fantastic, some of the players have already spoken about this,” Son continued. “Before he arrived we couldn’t believe we could arrive in the Champions League spot.
“What he brought to the club was incredible, the passion, the energy, the positivity. Look, he has brought so many things. It is only 10 more days left, we have to give what we can, we have to squeeze all that we have.
“It has been really tough, especially in the Premier League because everyone is playing for the title and the top four and every game is really tough.
“When you qualify it is really tough but the way to qualify is really tough. The last two games we just want to make sure we qualify for the Champions League.”