ANDREA Dossena says the demands of playing three games in a week make the Premier League “a completely different sport”.
Basement boys Sunderland face their third game in seven days tomorrow tea-time when sixth-placed Spurs visit the Stadium of Light.
It’s a schedule left-back Dossena is familiar with after playing Europa League and Champions League football in midweek during three years at former club Napoli.
And the Italian is under no illusions about how tough it will be to regain energy levels for this weekend’s encounter, particularly as several players looked physically shattered after Wednesday night’s dramatic defeat against Eden Hazard-inspired Chelsea.
Dossena told the Echo: “It’s a completely different sport between playing every Saturday and playing Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday.
“For the last four years, I’ve played every four days and it’s completely different.
“We have to recover well and regain our energy because we have to win.
“We used up a lot of energy on Saturday (at Aston Villa) and only got one point and then again on Wednesday.
“But we have to fight for everything to give ourselves the best chance.”
Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet is likely to shuffle his pack again tomorrow to introduce fresh legs into the fray, with a busy December in full swing.
Poyet made two changes against Chelsea, with Jack Colback and Jozy Altidore both handed starting spots.
The latter responded with his first Premier League goal for Sunderland and could keep his place ahead of last season’s top scorer, Steven Fletcher, tomorrow.
But ex-Liverpool man Dossena insists the spirit in the Sunderland dressing room will ensure that no one in the Black Cats squad will throw their toys out of the pram at being left out.
“I think the goal will be really good for Jozy,” added the summer signing.
“Goals for the strikers are important for them for their mentality and their confidence.
“I don’t know whether the gaffer will put him on the pitch or not against Tottenham.
“But I look at everyone every day on the training ground and the character is good.
“We have some problems in the league, but not between us, not in the dressing room.
“We want to keep going because we know we can do stay up. We have the belief.”