Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte has explained why summer signing Djed Spence is struggling for game time.
The Lilywhites bought the 22-year-old from Middlesbrough in a deal worth around £20 million in the summer transfer window, but he has clocked up merely a minute this season.
Emerson Royal has been the first-choice right wing-back for Conte, featuring in 10 games in all competitions.
Matt Doherty has also been deprived of playing time, making only three appearances this term.
There has been a clamour from the fans following Emerson’s string of inconsistent performances, with the Brazilian defender recently sent off during the heavy defeat against Arsenal in the north London derby.
Conte has now offered his verdict on the lack of minutes for Doherty and Spence, insisting that he is making the best decision for the club.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of the Champions League clash against Eintracht Frankfurt, Conte said (h/t football.london): “The fans have to be fans. The fans is the fans – I understand they can think everything, but I see every day what happens during the training session.
“I try to do the best for the team. If they trust me, then they trust me, but the choices are mine. If I didn’t decide to pick one player it’s maybe because he’s not ready.
“We are talking about a young player with a good prospect, but I repeat, I try to pick the best team. Also Doherty last season played every game. Now I’m not seeing him in the right way to start the game.
“I’m not stupid – I don’t want to lose. I try to put the best team, to pick the best team. If they trust me, it’s okay. If they don’t trust me, then I’m the coach and I need to take the best decision for Tottenham.”
Spurs suffered their first defeat in the Premier League this season against the Gunners over the weekend.
Having lost their previous UCL game against Sporting CP, Conte’s men will look to avoid the same against Frankfurt.
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