Nuno admits team has ‘fitness problems’ after back-to-back Premier League defeats

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Nuno Espirito Santo
Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Nuno Espirito Santo has admitted that his players have struggled with their fitness in recent games but insisted that the recent poor run of form cannot be blamed purely on those issues.

After a promising start to the season that saw Spurs win their first three league games without conceding a single goal, Nuno’s men have fallen to two successive 3-0 losses in the top flight at the hands of Crystal Palace and Chelsea.

There were some concerning similarities in both games, with the team capitulating when put under pressure after the interval.

However, Nuno insisted that the two games have to be analysed differently as the losses came under different circumstances and fans will be looking for the Portuguese to put things right this evening when he faces his former side, Wolves in the Carabao Cup third round clash at Molineux.

The Spurs boss told Football.London: “Totally different games. What happened in Palace was one circumstance. We were 0-0, one man down, we conceded from a penalty. When we concede we are not able to keep consistency and solid enough to go and chase the game.

“We start making mistakes. We create too much distance among ourselves and that’s a problem.

“On the game against Chelsea, fantastic first half, we could spend a lot of time speaking about it, we already did, but not so good [after], we were punished from a set piece in the first minutes of the second half.

“Of course, we had fitness problems because naturally players that are away, that was our decision to put them to play, they were in Croatia, players returning from injuries with not too much training.

“If you want to be accurate in your analysis, it’s not enough to do with the physicality of the team. It has to do with individual aspects. How do we solve that? We don’t have too much time on the training ground. Let’s use the competition and let’s manage our squad properly.”

Nuno, however, did admit that the fragility that the side showed in the second half, both at Selhurst Park and in the London derby on Sunday, was a matter of concern.

The 47-year-old claimed that the team had become too disjointed when they were chasing the game after the interval.

He added: “It happened in Palace and it happened in the second half of Chelsea. With Palace, hard circumstances, we were one man less, it’s tough, but Chelsea, we were not able to compete the same way that we did.

“So that is a concern, but at the same time that is a challenge for us to sustain our performance and react better.

“You can concede at any moment in a game and you have to be able to react and chase the game again and doing the same things.

“Not creating distance. It’s the most important aspect. When the team opens and players start getting far from each other, it’s much, much harder to recover the ball.”

Spurs Web Opinion

While losing a London derby in such a comprehensive manner always hurts, I was not as worried after our performance against Chelsea as I was after the Palace game.

In the first half, Nuno certainly showed that he is willing to adopt a higher press. I thought having the pace of Bergwijn or Lucas to call upon from the bench would have given us a better out-ball in the second half, which would have meant that our defence would have come under a little less pressure.

I am hopeful that we will be able to maintain the intensity we showed in the first half as the players get more game time under their belt this season and get physically sharper.

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