Tottenham Hotspur

Nuno Espirito Santo defends Tottenham team selection after Vitesse defeat

Jamie Spencer
Nuno Espirito Santo made 11 changes to his Spurs team
Nuno Espirito Santo made 11 changes to his Spurs team / John Berry/GettyImages

Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo has defended his team selection in Thursday night’s Europa Conference League defeat to Vitesse Arnhem, insisting he didn’t view it as a reserve side.

Nuno made 11 changes to the team that had beaten Newcastle in the Premier League last weekend and most, if not all, of those who started in Arnhem are not expected to keep their place for the upcoming London derby against West Ham on Sunday.

Yet despite a defeat that leaves their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the competition in danger and having no recognised first-team players on the bench, Nuno insists it is not a case of simply choosing a second XI for these matches.

“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, via The Independent.

“That is not the question. It’s about having minutes, compete, improve 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.

Nuno insisted that the Conference League is ‘always tough’ away from home.

“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.”

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