Conte defends why he swapped Kulusevski for Sanchez against AC Milan

Antonio Conte has been speaking to the press ahead of the weekend’s action, and took a moment to reflect on his tactical decisions in midweek against AC Milan, in particular the fact he brought Davinson Sanchez on when Tottenham needed a goal.

Spurs limped out of the Champions League after failing to overturn a one-goal deficit in the second leg of their last 16 tie with AC Milan.

The game at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium ended in a 0-0 draw, and fans were disappointed with the lacklustre display from the Lilywhites.

Antonio Conte
(Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Although Spurs dominated possession, they managed just nine shots throughout the game, with only two being on target (Sky Sports).

For a game where goals were essential, there was a worrying lack of forward momentum from the North London side.

Fans were increasingly unhappy with what they saw, but were especially frustrated to see defender Davinson Sanchez replace attacker Dejan Kulusevski with seven minutes of normal time to go.

The substitution was met with booing from the home support and Conte has now addressed that matter.

On the changes he made after Cristian Romero’s red card, Conte told Football.London: “We had three strikers, we continued to play with three strikers. We played with Porro. We played with a 3-4-3 [before], without [11 players], we played with 3-2-3.”

Clearly, the manager wasn’t looking for suggestions, adding: “If you win the game it is because you only have strikers? We have to find in every moment to risk but not to lose the balance.

“Then we had the chance. If you think we can play with four strikers, with 2-2-4 and if you think so with the counterattack and the space. Well…”

“I think I do my job and everyone has to do their job. I think I have a career behind me and the experience to try to make the best decision. Then I repeat and you can accept or not.

“The reality to risk to score and if you score one goal you go into 30 minutes with four strikers. I understand the fans but I’m the coach and I always have to find the best solution for the team.”

Spurs Web Opinion

I can’t defend that particular decision, unfortunately. I get what Conte is saying, but we should worry about extra time if and when we get there.

Bringing Davinson Sanchez on and taking Kulusevski off the field in the dying minutes of such a huge game was never going to be the kind of substitution that would salvage the result for us.

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