Nuno responds to concerns over player fitness after lacklustre Tottenham defeat

Date published: Sunday 24th October 2021 5:00 - James Holland

Nuno Espirito Santo Tottenham

Nuno Espirito Santo was quizzed about his team’s fitness after Tottenham put in a lacklustre performance against West Ham on Sunday.

The north London side were beaten 1-0 away from home as Michail Antonio’s second-half goal proved to be the winner. A few chances came Tottenham’s way during the match but they never had their opponents too concerned.

West Ham were quick off the mark, with Pablo Fornals forcing Hugo Lloris into a good save inside ten minutes. Heung-Min Son then played a nice one-two with Tanguy Ndombele to get in behind the Hammers’ defence. He fired at goal but Polish keeper Lukasz Fabianski did well to cut off the angle and save.

Tomas Soucek almost put West Ham in front in the 35th minute. He got on the end of an Aaron Cresswell cross but Sergio Reguilon did just enough to put him off. The central midfielder failed to challenge Lloris and sent his header wide.

It took Harry Kane 44 minutes to set his sights on Fabianski’s goal. The England skipper met a ball from Reguilon but saw his header palmed over by the veteran.

After the interval, Fornals almost put the home side in front. His shot deflected off Eric Dier but was pushed away by Lloris. It went out for a corner which is where the deadlock was finally broken.

A Cresswell cross wasn’t dealt with and Antonio stuck out a leg to shin the ball into the net. Tottenham failed to even threaten an equaliser as West Ham shut them out for the rest of the clash.

Apart from their early chances, the likes of Son and Kane never got too much of a look in. They looked tired, even though they were rested for the midweek loss to Vitesse.

At the post-match press conference, Nuno was asked if his stars were fatigued. He said (via “I don’t agree. All the players worked very hard.”

On the lack of creativity from his team, the manager continued: “Because West Ham defend in the box with a lot of men. Not much space. [We] should’ve moved the ball faster and gone to wide areas. [It is] always difficult when all men are behind the ball, [it is] difficult to find spaces and gaps.”

The Portuguese added: “Not too many [positives] when you lose a game like today. I believe we were the better team.”

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Nuno questioned over late changes

Despite going behind, Nuno failed to make a change until the 84th minute. He brought on Bryan Gil and Giovani Lo Celso, with Reguilon and Tanguy Ndombele coming off.

In injury time he made a third substitution as Lucas Moura was replaced by Steven Bergwijn.

On the late changes, Nuno said: “The boys were playing good and we made the changes when we needed.”

The 47-year-old will be desperate for a reaction in their next game. Spurs face Burnley in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday evening. Their next league match is against Man Utd on Saturday.

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