Antonio Conte on why Tottenham Hotspur did not make early substitutions vs Manchester United
Antonio Conte did not bring on a substitute before the 82nd minute in the 2-0 loss for Tottenham Hotspur against Manchester United.
The Italian manager brought on Ryan Sessegnon for Matt Doherty, Davinson Sanchez for Eric Dier, and Lucas Moura for Yves Bissouma in the 82nd minute. The Mali international started as the extra midfielder yesterday as we shifted to a 3-5-2 formation.
Seven minutes later, Oliver Skipp and Djed Spence entered the pitch as Ivan Perisic and Rodrigo Bentancur were withdrawn. Some fans would have felt that these subs came too late in the game to make an impact.
According to the manager himself (h/t Football.London), the reasoning was down to him not having a lot of game-changers in attack on the bench. Moura has just returned from injury recently while Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski were both ruled out for the game with injuries.
“The substitutions today with Richarlison and Kulusevski out with injuries was really difficult to try to change the game also because Lucas Moura you know very well is recovering from an injury with his tendon.”
Conte then highlighted that there were young players on the bench, for whom a game of this level and this intensity was difficult. He continued:
“The other solution to the bench today we played with three midfielders because we had only the two strikers and then you know this type of game we have many young players that this game is difficult for all players and for the young players much more difficult.”
If Conte believes the youngsters are good enough to play for Spurs, then he should trust them in big games. This is part of how their mentality will develop.
The likes of Spence and Sessegnon are young, enthusiastic, and brave in the attack. There is no harm in trusting them from time to time and actually throwing the sink at the opposition rather than defending to lose by a respectable scoreline.
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After Bruno Fernandes’ 69th-minute goal, it was evident that there was perhaps no way back for us. At that point, some brave substitutions could have changed the tide of the game.