Martinez: ‘Belgium without Hazard and Lukaku, there will be changes’

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez revealed Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard suffer from ‘muscle overload’ ahead of the clash with Italy. ‘There will be changes’.

The Red Devils lost 3-2 to France in the semi-finals of the UEFA Nations League and thus set up a match for third place against Italy.

“I think 24 hours can make a difference, we trained well and we had the opportunity to prepare for the match against Italy,” Martinez said at a press conference.

“There was great disappointment after the knockout against France, even the next day, but today we have started a new chapter.

“I know that everyone is prepared, and they know how important tomorrow’s game will be, also because in November we will need a point to qualify for the World Championship and it’s important that everyone can prove their worth.”

Carrasco: ‘Finishing third or fourth doesn’t change anything’

Romelu Lukaku will not play against Italy tomorrow and Martinez explained that the Chelsea striker and Real Madrid winger Eden Hazard struggle with a ‘muscle overload’.

“Hazard and Lukaku are in similar physical condition,” he continued. “They had a muscle overload and we don’t have the facilities to do the usual medical work.

“They will return to Belgium to get back to their best shape for the clubs. Thomas Meuner had a different problem, in the calf.

“We came here to win the Nations League, tomorrow against Italy, we will not change only to upset everything, we must return to the first 45 minutes with France and when the young players are ready, I will never be afraid to give them a chance, as we have seen with [Jeremy] Doku against Italy.

“Tomorrow, there will be changes, no Lukaku or Hazard, but we will analyse all the players in the group.”

Lukaku will return to Belgium and not to London, something Martinez revealed the national team and the Blues agreed on.

“Obviously there’s an excellent understanding between the two medical staff and we want to do what’s best for the player,” he said.

“Every decision is also made in agreement with the club.”

Courtois says Italy vs. Belgium is a ‘useless game’

A defeat to Italy tomorrow could cost Belgium the top spot in the FIFA ranking to Brazil and Martinez said it’s an extra motivation for the Red Devils.

“Of course, it’s important, we have been first for three years and we want to preserve this first place, it has always been our goal,” he said.

“Tomorrow evening against Italy, against the European champions, we want to test ourselves and learn. The team is composed by individual players and these individuals must be called up in a year, there can be no better motivation.”

Italy and Belgium play at 14.00 UK time at the Allianz Stadium in Turin, before Spain and France clash in the Final at San Siro at 19.45.

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