Antonio Conte sprung a major surprise with his Tottenham team selection for their Carabao Cup semi-final, second leg showdown against Chelsea with captain Hugo Lloris dropping down to the substitutes’ bench.
Despite starting in Spurs’ last two games in the competition, the Frenchman has made way for Pierluigi Gollini between the sticks.
Lloris’ absence from the XI isn’t the only one that has raised eyebrows as Matt Doherty starts at left wing-back, Harry Winks comes in for Oliver Skipp and Tanguy Ndombele has been left out of the matchday squad completely.
Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the second leg, Conte explained his reasoning for leaving out Lloris and admitted that it is simply down to the team facing some important games over the next week or so.
“Only because we have to play many games in the next 10 days and also three important games in the league and before my arrival, Gollini played every game in the cup competitions – in the Europa Conference League and the Carabao Cup,” said the Italian.
“I think we have a reliable player and it is important to give him a good chance in an important game.”
As well as the inclusion of Gollini, Doherty and Winks in the Tottenham XI, Giovani Lo Celso was also brought into the team for a rare start in the absence of Son Heung-min through injury.
“He has the right characteristics as a number 10, he is an offensive midfielder and I decided to take this option,” added Conte on the Argentine.
“I had two options in that role, Giovani and Bryan Gil and I thought for this game it was better to start Giovani.”
The Lilywhites have it all to do in this evening’s semi-final clash at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium following a 2-0 defeat in west London one week ago.
Falling behind early on after the Blues capitalised on a Japhet Tanganga mistake with Kai Havertz finding the net, the hosts then doubled the lead following a comical Ben Davies own goal.
Chelsea’s failure to kill the tie off despite having a number of chances has left Spurs still in the mix for a place at Wembley, however, but there will need to be a huge improvement from last week if that is to happen.
Source by Football London