Nuno Espirito Santo has admitted that “big issues” mean he cannot pick the same Tottenham starting line-up against Newcastle United as he did against Aston Villa.
Nuno Espirito Santo said: “[It’s] not easy, not easy. What we wanted was after the game against Villa … which I think was one of the best performances that we had in terms of the team, how we did things, how we reacted when we conceded, all these small steps that we took in the right direction … the ideal was to immediately have a good week, try to establish and create routines among players. That was not possible. So you stay here with a group of players that you try, with the small numbers, just try and improve them individually. Not in the aspect of the team because the squad was not here. So what we want now is try to recover them. Like I said, we have problems and you’re going to see that we have problems. We have small issues, big issues if you want, but the best way is to get a reference point and the reference point was the game against Villa. So that should be our starting point for a tight schedule that we’re going to be four games away from home. So starting from there … If we could, I’ll be honest with you, we would repeat the same XI, because that’s the best way to start something. It will not be possible but then you have to try again, try again, try again.”
Nuno Espirito Santo added: “That would be good [to be able to pick the same XI again], that would be good. I think honestly … it’s an old saying in football – when you have something that worked don’t… I think we change a bit from the previous game [the Arsenal game] against Villa, we change and the boys react well. We felt that we were in a good place at that moment and we want to continue it from there. So disruption, international break. So let’s get the starting point there.”
Espirito Santo admitted that once again an international break had come at a bad time so early in his time at Spurs but that he just has to roll with the punches.
Nuno Espirito Santo said: “Yeah but this is football. We are used to it. The players go to national teams. When they go what we want is for them to return healthy. We know that each moment it is becoming harder for them,” he explained. The schedule, the demands of club and national team are really really high and demanding on the players, but we cannot avoid it. We all expect and there has been a lot of dialogue and speculation about it – something has to be done so the players don’t spend so much time away from the clubs.”
One Spurs player who has been struggling to impress is Harry Kane. The striker is yet score in the Premier League and the England captain drew a frustrated figure for his country in midweek. Espirito Santo was asked whether he saw anything different going on with the forward behind the scenes which might explain why he is not firing on all cylinders at the moment.
Nuno Espirito Santo said: “No. Honestly. I am being very honest. I don’t see anything different. Just realising that will happen, happens naturally. As Harry is a fantastic football player one of the best in the world. So we have to provide things to happen. Sometimes he needs time. His game goes much more beyond goals, the work he does for the team is immense and really helpful. We need to provide as a team, as a club and when I say club we need to realise it is like that sometimes you are on top of the world and sometimes you are not, but you always need the same support and everyone should be supportive of our players, especially our fans.”
When asked how he had been supporting him,
Nuno Espirito Santo added: “In the same way I do it to all other players. I support them with the training sessions and I support them with the solutions I think are better for them. I support them when I need to speak with them. Every time. There is no difference on how I deal with Harry and how I deal with Dane [Scarlett] for example. They are different people and each and every one needs different things and it is up to us to find the right moments to do it and always being helpful and supportive.”
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