Tottenham boss Nuno aiming for cohesion with Spurs fringe players stuck in vicious cycle of underperformance

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
Tottenham boss Nuno aiming for cohesion with Spurs fringe players stuck in vicious cycle of underperformance
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s fragile authority was further eroded by 1-0 defeats to Vitesse Arnhem and West Ham last week and he has described Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup tie as “a final”, reflecting the pressure on the Tottenham head coach.

The Portuguese needs a result against a Burnley side who are still winless in the Premier League, while keeping in mind the small issue of Saturday’s clash with Manchester United, which already feels like a decisive game for both him and United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Nuno has left Dele Alli and Harry Winks out of his travelling squad, perhaps reflecting a shift to a more ruthless approach and casting the pair’s future under him into doubt.

He increasingly appears to trust only a select few of his squad, also evidenced by the decision to rest his entire first XI for the trip to the Netherlands and a reluctance to use his bench in the last three League games.

But having preached unity and togetherness when he joined the club, Nuno is in danger of creating a fractured, two-tiered squad and he needs to ensure his fringe players are fit and motivated ahead of the hectic festive schedule ahead.

Many of Spurs’s problems long pre-date Nuno, who inherited a number of players sorely lacking fitness, form and confidence from Jose Mourinho, including Winks, Dele, Davinson Sanchez and Giovani Lo Celso.

The quartet are part of a Spurs second string which have consistently underwhelmed in cup matches but they now appear trapped in a vicious cycle of underperformance, unable to build rhythm and form without a run of appearances and yet undeserving of more game-time based on their cameos.

Winks alluded to his frustration in an honest interview in Arnhem last week and also suggested that Nuno’s approach to rotation had demotivated Spurs’s fringe players. He was subsequently left out of the squad for the defeat at West Ham, while Dele was an unused substitute.

Regardless of his reservations, Nuno is set to use Wednesday’s game to integrate some of his squad players, as he tries to create a competitive and cohesive group.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

He is expected to name a team which is a blend of the XIs used against Vitesse and West Ham, as he did in the third-round win over Wolves, with Pierluigi Gollini, Japhet Tanganga, Lo Celso, Bryan Gil and Steven Bergwijn among the possible starters from the team which underwhelmed in the Netherlands.

Nuno is conscious of the situation facing his squad players but will not put individual circumstances ahead of the team.

“We have players who need minutes, who deserve minutes, but it’s up to us to manage the situation of the players because what we want is to build a competitive team,” he said.

“It’s going to be a tough match because Burnley are a good team, but it’s a good chance for us to improve, knowing that the Carabao Cup is an important competition for us.

“We have to go game by game and then this game is a final. It’s a chance for us to improve, to compete well knowing that we have to manage some situations.”

Read More

Tottenham XI vs Burnley: Predicted lineup, confirmed team news and injury latest for Carabao Cup game today

Burnley vs Tottenham: Carabao Cup prediction, kick off time, TV, live stream, team news and h2h results today

Tottenham duo Dele Alli and Harry Winks left out of squad for Burnley trip amid doubts over Spurs futures

Tottenham boss Nuno says Burnley Carabao Cup clash is ‘a final’ as he eyes improvements following defeats

Tottenham’s tame defeat to West Ham highlights growing gap between Nuno’s side and flourishing rivals

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting