Ange Postecoglou has defended his decision to name nearly a completely different eleven for the Carabao Cup second-round clash against Fulham, insisting that he had to give opportunities to certain players to find out more about them.

Some Spurs fans were surprised when the team featured nine changes from the win against Bournemouth, with only Micky van de Ven and Richarlison keeping their place in the starting eleven.

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 29: Rodrigo Muniz of Fulham challenges for the ball with Micky van de Ven of Tottenham Hotspur during the Carabao Cup Second Round match between Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur at Craven Cottage on August 29, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The performance from the Lilywhites at Craven Cottage left a lot to be desired as they struggled to impose themselves on the game, and eventually battled their way to a 1-1 draw, only to be knocked out on penalties.

The result means that Tottenham are out of the competition which arguably represented their best chance of ending their trophy drought this season.

Postecoglou defends nine changes to Spurs XI

When asked if the game should have been treated as more of a priority, given that Spurs do not have European football to worry about this season, Postecoglou told Football.London: “It is my priority but there is no European football so how am I going to find out about our players?

“What opportunity would I have to do that other than the game? They are all part of our club. We thought they’d be able to bring a different energy tonight, and that doesn’t mean the cup or any game isn’t our priority.

“From my perspective, we’re very much at the discovery stage so we need to find out and give the players the opportunity to contribute. Because that’s why they’re here – they’re not just here to make up the numbers. They keep working hard and deserved the opportunity to go out and play tonight.”

The likes of Davinson Sanchez, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Ivan Perisic certainly did not do their chances of breaking into the starting eleven any favours with the displays they delivered on Tuesday night.

When asked if he learned who can rely on, Postecoglou responded: “I wouldn’t say can’t rely on, that’s a bit harsh for me. I liked the way we hung in there, that character and resilience is going to be important for us and needed going forward amongst the group. We’ve come away in a cup game to a Premier League side and lost on penalties.

“If we’d lost 4-0 or got blown away, maybe they’d be a different discussion to be had but if we’d won on penalties would my view be different right now? No. They’d be exactly the same.

“It’s not measured by the outcome, it’s measured by the whole experience of seeing the guys out there and how much they’re understanding our football. There were some good moments and some moments we have to improve on.”

Spurs Web Opinion

I can understand why Ange wanted to give opportunities to fringe players as it was important to keep everyone on their toes and to ensure that the dressing room morale remains high.

The one thing that was most glaringly obvious from that game was the fact that Davinson Sanchez is simply not good enough on the ball to play in Ange’s backline.

The Colombian’s decision-making regarding the timing of his passes and the power he puts into his passes is extremely poor, and it would be a massive error if Ange decided to keep him at the club even as a backup.

In fact, if it came to it, I would even keep Eric Dier over Sanchez as the England international (despite his lack of recovery pace) is good enough in possession to help us build from the back the way Ange wants to.

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