Antonio Conte admitted that ‘something was wrong with his players’ after Tottenham were dumped out of the Carabao Cup 2-0 at 10-man Nottingham Forest on Wednesday evening.
The Spurs boss only made four changes to his starting XI for the match and even called on Harry Kane to start again, but Conte’s side were woeful for much of the night and deserved to crash out of the competition.
Forest were the better team throughout and took the lead on 50 minutes through a fine curled effort from Renan Lodi.
The impressive Jesse Lingard headed home following a swift counter-attack to double their advantage.
And despite seeing Orel Mangala was sent off with 15 minutes, Forest comfortably held on to reach the last 16.
For Tottenham it was another poor result and performance, especially considering Conte only made four changes to his side while Forest made nine.
And speaking after the game, the Italian said: “The performance, I have to be honest, I think maybe tonight the energy was really poor for us.
“Don’t forget that it was the 12th game in a really short period. The games that we played in the past, every game was really really difficult. And we lost a lot of mental energy and physical energy.
“I think today we arrived in our heart and mind to try to win but if I have to say something was wrong with my players, I tell you not.
“To my players I say thanks because there are players who are really tired.
“I have to manage the situation with Hojbjerg and Bentancur because they were tired. The same for Harry Kane.
“Harry until this morning we waited to see if he could start or not. In this situation he was the only striker so again I can only say thanks to my players.”
Injuries taking their toll on Tottenham
Conte admitted that injuries to key players are biting hard as Spurs limp into the World Cup break.
He added: “I have a group of players who first men and then good players.
“Another could be selfish to think to himself ‘in a week I have to play the World Cup’. Instead Harry Kane showed to be a really good man.
“Not only him though, the same for Bentancur, Perisic. And Dier is another player who has played a lot of games.
“We faced a situation that is really bad with the injuries. We arrived at the end in real difficulty. Now we have to try to rest and find energy.”
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