Antonio Conte defended his decision to omit captain Hugo Lloris from his starting XI for last night’s Carabao Cup loss to Chelsea.
Tottenham boss Conte faced criticism from supporters after handing second choice Pierluigi Gollini a rare start in the semi-final second leg loss.
The move to leave out Lloris backfired, as Gollini was at fault for Antonio Rudiger’s winner as he failed to punch Mason Mount’s corner away.
Antonio Conte defended his choice to drop Hugo Lloris for Spurs’ Carabao Cup loss to Chelsea
Lloris’ replacement Pierluigi Gollini was at fault for Antonio Rudiger’s goal on Wednesday night
Lloris has been in excellent form for Spurs in recent weeks and in explaining his decision to rest the Frenchman, Conte said: ‘About Hugo Lloris, before my arrival at Chelsea (for last week’s first-leg), Pierluigi has always played in Carabao and the Conference League.
‘I think when you’re in a team like Tottenham, it’s important to give chances to the ‘keeper because Pierluigi showed to be reliable. Then we have to play three games in seven days against Arsenal, Leicester and Chelsea again. I think he deserved this chance to play an important game.
‘I made this decision and I think that Gollini played a good game. In the first game we lost 2-0 (when Lloris played), today we lost only 1-0. I think that we have to try to think about situations that are much more important than this. Believe me.’
Captain and first-choice goalkeeper Lloris (left) had to settle for the bench against the Blues
Rudiger’s goal capped an other excellent display from the Germany international, who is out of contract in the summer.
‘I am enjoying this chapter. I think it is the best time of my career,’ said Rudiger. ‘There are a lot of tough games to play. The schedule is getting busier and busier. We have to be up for it.’
Rudiger has had a number of pre-contract offers from across Europe, with Real Madrid, PSG and Juventus amongst the teams interested in the defender.
But Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said on Wednesday night: ‘Everybody knows, let’s wait and see. Of course [we are confident of keeping him]. We have things to offer and he is the player he is in a Chelsea shirt and a Chelsea environment. He knows that very well.’
Rudiger (third right) scored the only goal on Wednesday as Chelsea won 3-0 on aggregate
Thomas Tuchel (righ) wants Chelsea to keep Rudiger (left) but slammed his own team’s display
Despite his team’s win and passage to the final, which means the German has now reached every knockout competition final he has participated in as Chelsea boss, Tuchel was not totally satisfied with his team’s performance.
‘We started well, created big chances and were in the lead but we played with fire; we allowed chances from sloppy mistakes and almost gave a penalty away because of overconfidence,’ explained the Blues boss.
‘We have to meet the standards. It is why we work for Chelsea and play for Chelsea. Nothing else matters. It is not about just getting a result; we can play much better.
‘We can close spaces much better, be better in defence, individually, control the match better and make fewer mistakes. In any aspect we can do better and we must do better.’