Nuno Espirito Santo insists Tottenham can still progress to Europa Conference League knockouts after shock loss at Vitesse as he stands by his decision to leave the big guns at home
- Tottenham slumped to a 1-0 loss against Vitesse in Europa Conference League
- It leaves chances of progressing from their Conference League group in danger
- The Spurs boss made 11 changes to the team who won at Newcastle on Sunday
- The side still featured nine international players but they all disappointed
Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo says his side can still qualify for the knockout stages of the Europa Conference League after a 1-0 loss to Vitesse Arnhem.
Nuno changed his entire starting XI and left all of his big guns at home in order to prepare for Sunday’s Premier League match with West Ham and a second string were undone by Maximilian Wittek’s 78th-minute strike.
The side Nuno picked still had nine international players, but they were never really in the game and Bryan Gil’s shot that hit the crossbar early in the second half was their only moment of note.
Nuno Espirito Santo says Spurs can still qualify for the knockout stages after 1-0 loss to Vitesse
The result leaves them in third in Group G, two points behind Vitesse and three behind leaders Rennes at the halfway stage.
With the return fixture against the Dutch side in a fortnight and then a trip to the weakest team in the competition NS Mura to come, the Portuguese decided that leaving his big guns back in London for this game was a risk worth taking.
‘You have to discuss the options, the decision was made,’ he said. ‘We took a little moment to decide and we decided to bring the players that started, with the Under-23s to give us support.
‘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.
Max Vittek’s superb volley 12 minutes from time gave Vitesse a deserved European victory
The Spurs boss fielded nine changes from the weekend with the side viewed as a second XI
‘There was a period in the second half when we lost a little bit of control but in terms of lack of focus in the moment of the goal, details that we should improve like we always do.
‘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.
‘In terms of the group I think we have two games at home against Vitesse and Rennes and then we have to play Mura. We can solve the situation of the group.’
Spurs players share a discussion during another poor European performance on the road
Despite none of the players who played in Holland set to start against West Ham on Sunday, Nuno insists that this was not his second XI.
‘I don’t consider it this way,’ he said. ‘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.
‘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.’