Tottenham paid the price for leaving their star players at home as Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem earned a deserved win

7 months ago | 134

Spain winger Bryan Gil, who hit the bar for the visitors, was one of nine full internationals in the Spurs side

TOTTENHAM paid the price for leaving their star players at home as Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem earned a deserved win in the Europa Conference League.

Vitesse left-sided midfielder Maximilian Wittek crisply converted a volley from the edge of the area, dealing a blow to the visitors' hopes of progressing comfortably from Group G.

With key players including Harry Kane and Son Heung-min rested, Spurs fielded a different starting XI to the one who beat Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday and they lacked rhythm in a poor performance.

The Dutch side, who finished fourth in the Eredivisie last season, created the better opportunities and delighted a sell-out crowd when Wittek finally made their dominance count.

Spurs hit the bar through Bryan Gil moments after half-time but they rarely threatened afterwards and finished the match having managed just one shot on target.

The defeat means Nuno Espirito Santo's side are third at the halfway stage of Group G, having drawn with French side Rennes and thrashed Slovenian minnows Mura in their opening two games.

"It was a tough match against a good team," said Spurs boss Nuno, who also named a substitutes' bench full of inexperienced youngsters.

"The Europa Conference League is like this; there are always tough moments.

"We have got two home games left and I truly believe they can help us solve the group."

Only the group winners automatically go through to the last 16 in Europe's third-tier club competition.

The runners-up will face a play-off against a team who finishes third in the Europa League groups, with the victor then also progressing to the last 16.

Spurs' second string fail to pass the audition

Leaving his star names back in London was not seen as a risk by Spurs manager Nuno, who has to consider the impact of seven matches in 21 days and use his squad accordingly.

The trip to Arnhem was the second game in this busy period and, on the evidence of his team selection, was given a lower priority in an important week.

Spurs go to London rivals West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday and then head to Burnley on Wednesday in the Carabao Cup fourth round.

None of the outfield players who started at Newcastle even made the trip to the Netherlands for Thursday's match.

Opportunities were given to a number of fringe players to impress their manager.

But the move backfired as a team featuring nine internationals - including England pair Dele Alli and Harry Winks - produced a lifeless performance.

Spurs looked edgy from the start as Vitesse played on the front foot, with a sell-out 24,000 crowd spurring on the home side with noisy and atmospheric support.

The stadium erupted when Vittek thumped in the winner and the joyous celebrations after the final whistle - the home players piling on each other before lapping up the crowd's acclaim - contrasted sharply to Spurs' dejection.

'The attitude was wrong' - Hoddle disappointed by fringe players

Tottenham legend Glenn Hoddle questioned the attitude of the incoming players and said they needed to "look at themselves in the mirror".

"They weren't up for the test," the former Spurs and England manager said on BT Sport.

"The attitude was wrong but also there was no ability. There was no one telling Nuno they want to get in the first team. It was very disappointing.

"There were players there who weren't saying: 'I am going to get into that team.' You look inside yourself first, they haven't given it everything and they will have regrets.

"They should be giving it everything because they aren't good enough to get in the first team at the moment. They should be good enough because some of them are full internationals.

"You need the application and desire and they didn't have that."

BBC Sport

 - Oct. 22, 2021 @ 09:37 GMT |


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