Cristian Stellini defended Tottenham’s team selection after they crashed out of the FA Cup at Sheffield United.
Spurs blew a huge potential opportunity to win silverware this season, losing 1-0 to Championship opposition – who will face fellow second-tier side Blackburn in the quarter-finals.
Harry Kane started on the bench, but assistant boss Stellini – standing in for manager Antonio Conte, who is recovering after having his gallbladder removed – insisted there were no regrets about the choices made.
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Stellini said: “I think the team we picked to play this game was fine. We used a good team to play this game against this type of opponent.
“The problem is the energy. If the energy is not at the same level as your opponent then sometimes you can lose.
“It’s not a regret. We need to look at the medium (term) period and we have many games.”
The decision to leave out Kane seemed particularly odd given that Spurs were pursuing a first trophy in 32 years.
But Stellini said: “Harry Kane played in the last six games, one time with fever, one time with throat problems. We have to take care of our best players.
“He was ill a week ago and didn’t train some days. For that reason we decided to keep Harry on the bench and maybe play part of the match.
“It’s not about Harry, because we played with Richarlison, Lucas Moura and Son. I think that’s good enough to play in this type of competition and against this type of team.
“We had the opportunity to score but we never found the target. This was the problem.”