Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte has explained why he substituted forward Dejan Klosewski to defend Davinson Sanchez late on in their must-win game against AC Milan on Wednesday.
Spurs crashed out of the Champions League in the last 16 after losing 1-0 on aggregate to the Italians, having been held 0-0 in north London this week.
Despite needing to score, Tottenham hardly troubled Milan over 180 minutes and were notably toothless in Wednesday’s do-or-die clash.
Cristian Romero was sent off after just 10 minutes to play, although with Spurs desperately searching for a breakthrough, Conte opted to replace Koleczewski with Sanchez.
The substitution was booed at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with pockets of fans chanting ‘You don’t know what you’re doing’ and even ex-manager Mauricio Pochettino’s name.
First-team coach Ryan Mason was shown questioning the change on the touchline, and has been compared to lethal substitute predecessor Nuno Espirito Santo during his last game in charge of Spurs. In which Lucas Moura also needed to score for Steven Bergwijn. .
Conte was asked about his decision to make the substitution ahead of Spurs’ return to Premier League action against Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
“We had three strikers. [Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Richarlison]We played with three strikers. We played together. [Pedro] Combined we played 3-4-3. [before]without [11 players]we played with a 3-2-3,” he said.
“But if you win games, is it because you only have strikers? We have to look for danger every moment but not lose balance. Then we had a chance. If you think We can play with four strikers, 2-2-4 and if you think so with counter attack and space, well…
“I think I do my job and everybody has to do their job. I think I have a career behind me and the experience to try to make the best decision. Then I repeat and you can accept it or not. . Score and if you score a goal you go 30 minutes with four strikers. I understand the fans but I’m the coach and I always have to find the best solution for the team.”