Antonio Conte has admitted that Tottenham’s injuries have made it difficult for him to rotate his players, and added that the club need more time to build a squad that can compete in multiple fronts.
Conte did not make any changes to his starting eleven against Eintracht Frankfurt from the side that fell to a 3-1 loss at the Emirates on Saturday, with Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Richarlison leading the line.
In the absence of Dejan Kulusevski and Lucas Moura, the Italian had to turn to Bryan Gil in the latter part of the game, with the Spaniard failing to have much of an impact from the bench.
Conte remarked after the 0-0 draw that he had no choice but to play the best eleven to give his side the best chance of progressing to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
When asked if it was frustrating not to have experienced forward options to call on from the bench, he told Football.London: “You know I think that last season we reached a great achievement for the club, to play in the Champions League. If you remember we finished last season with only 12 or 13 players. I always say that maybe we were lucky to go out of the Conference League and focus only on the Premier League.
“We weren’t able last season to face two competitions. Now we have to go step by step, have patience, take time, you need to have time and to build an important squad to face competition like the Champions League. If you compare the Champions League, it is totally different to the Conference League or the Europa League. It’s always a massive game and you have to play with the best starting XI.”
Conte hinted that Spurs need a even bigger squad with more quality in order to cope with the demands of both the Premier League and the Champions League.
He added: “If you think ‘yeah I want to make some rotations’ and it is a bit difficult. We know this situation with the club and the club knows very well we need time and patience, to try to go step by step. I spoke about the transfer market, that we needed more transfer markets to reach a good level. We know this. At the same time we want to be competitive, to try to do everything.
“Today I made substitutions and played Gil, and Gil is a young player and we have to try to involve all the players. We have to try to do our best. And then go step by step to improve and become stronger as a squad. We have the intention to play for these two big competitions, the Premier League and Champions League. Two of the biggest competitions in the world. You lose a lot of energy, you lose players to injuries and you need a really big squad.”
Spurs Web Opinion
I thought Conte would start with a 3-5-2 against Frankfurt as Bissouma was fresh, and it would have given him the option of bringing Richarlison on from the bench for the final 30 minutes of the game. There is no doubt that we desperately missed the cutting-edge that Kulusevski provides in the final third.
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