Postecoglou defends team selection as Spurs lose in Carabao Cup – ‘How can I find out my players?’

Jason Soutar
Ange Postecoglou applauds the fans after a defeat.
Ange Postecoglou applauds the fans after a defeat.

Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou has defended his team selection after his side were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Fulham.

Spurs have not won a trophy since 2008 and Postecoglou has ensured that run continued with their penalty shootout defeat at Craven Cottage on Tuesday evening.

The Australian made a host of changes for the short trip to west London, bringing in Manor Solomon for his first start for the club.

In total, he made nine alterations, with Richarlison and Micky van de Ven the only players to keep their place after the win at Bournemouth on Saturday.

Among those to come in were Giovani Lo Celso and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who could both easily leave the club before Friday’s transfer deadline.

Postecoglou defended his decision to make nine changes, telling reporters after the loss: “How am I going to find out my players? We need to give the players the opportunity to contribute.

“We weren’t at our fluent best, particular early on and not surprising given changes I made.

“Many different ways you grow as a team and we showed real character to hang in.

“Second half we had our moments to win it and we lose on penalties so you have to wear it.”

Richarlison scored his first goal of the season on the night as Spurs drew 1-1 in 90 minutes.

The Brazilian came off in the 72nd minute, however, and Postecoglou has confirmed he sustained a “knock”.

“He got a bit of a knock,” the former Celtic manager confirmed.

“Because everyone has been talking about it then it’s great for him to score a goal. He’s played better for us in other games.

“I understand why people talk about it but it’s about he contributes to the way we play, he gave away the ball a bit too much tonight – not just him.”

Postecoglou was impressed by young striker Dane Scarlett, who could leave the club on loan this week.

“Yeah I thought he was bright when he came on,” he said. “He has been really good for us in training, he’s working really hard.

“Look, I’ll sit down with Dane over the next couple of days and sort of chart a way forward for him.

“I really think he’s definitely got a future at our club and I really like his attributes as a striker.

“It’s always a balance with young players, will they get enough game time because the next stage of their development is to play.

“He played a fair few games last year and I think he’s improved as a player since then.

“I’ll make that decision over the next couple of days and sit down with him, but I certainly see him as a Tottenham player and a lot of that will depend on what else happens over the next two or three days.”

Postecoglou also confirmed that he needs to offload one or two players before signing another player.

“We need to trim the squad and get it to a more manageable state and then see what’s available for us to strengthen the squad in a couple of areas,” he said.

READ MORE: Strikers and defensive mids in demand: What every Prem club needs most before transfer deadline…