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Tottenham Manager Defends Team Selection In Conference League Defeat To Vitesse

Nuno Espirito Santo
Nuno Espirito Santo

October 22, (THEWILL) – Nuno Espirito Santo has defended his team selection in Tottenham Hotspur’s UEFA Europa Conference League defeat to Vitesse Arnhem on Thursday night, insisting that it was not a reserve team.

Nuno made 11 changes to the team that beat Newcastle in the Premier League last weekend, and most, if not all, of the players who started in Arnhem are unlikely to start the London derby against West Ham on Sunday.

Despite a defeat that puts their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition in jeopardy and the absence of any recognised first-team players on the bench, Nuno insists that these matches are not about picking a second XI.

“I don’t consider it this way. A football match is always a chance to compete. Our approach is always the same, we expect our players to compete in all the matches, no matter the competition,” the Spurs boss said in his post-match remarks.

“That is not the question. It’s about having minutes, competing, and improving because like you know we have a tough, tough schedule ahead of us and we will need all the players in the best condition as possible,” he added while admitting that playing in the Conference League away from home was “always tough.”

“You have to discuss the options, the decision was made. We took a little moment to decide and we decided to bring the players that started with the Under-23s to give us support,” he explained.

“It was a tough match, tough match like we expected. Always away from home in Europe in the Conference League is tough. I think we compete well in terms of attack. I think we should finish the actions better. Some combinations were missing.

“The Conference League is always a chance to have minutes on the players, players who work hard and deserve. This is what it’s all about so let’s progress.”