Tottenham’s right-back riddle: Conte opens up about his selection process amid wing-back worries
After a devastating derby defeat on the weekend, the ten men of Tottenham were exposed on the right hand side following an Emerson Royal red card. With the issues the Lilywhites have experienced on this side of the pitch, who will fill the Brazilian’s boots whilst he faces suspension?
Spurs are preparing for their Champions League fixture against Frankfurt. Antonio Conte will have choice of all three right wing-backs to face the German side, a luxury he will not possess against Brighton on Saturday.
The feeling amongst many fans is that a change in personnel is required if the North London side’s fortunes are to change. Djed Spence and Matt Doherty are both yet to start this season, with just one and two appearances respectively.
However, Conte has responded to supporters questioning his selection by stating his views on the two alternative options, whilst acknowledging Emerson’s has critics. The Italian said, “The fans have to be fans. They can think everything but I see every day what happens during the training session.
“I try to do the best, the choices are mine. If I didn’t decide to pick one player it’s maybe because he’s not ready.”
This answered his views on Djed Spence but Matt Doherty’s absence from the starting line-up was yet to be questioned. Conte, unprompted, then expressed his reasons for not selecting the Irish international, without holding back.
The former Inter and Chelsea boss stated, “I try to pick the best team. 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 want to win.”
These comments are bound to be seen by the players involvedand hopefully, instead of a negative effect on performance, will provide motivation to Spence and Doherty.
Emerson Royal is likely to play in this week’s European fixture based on Conte’s comments. If the former Barcelona man was not to start, Conte may opt for Ivan Perišić on the right side and Ryan Sessegnon on the left.
The previous game in which this combination was tested was in a 6-2 home win vs Leicester. Spurs supporters will be hoping it proves equally efficient this time around after disappointing away results in Europe previously.
The last time Tottenham won an away fixture in European competition was a 4-1 win against Wolfsberger in the Europa League. Since then, defeats to Zagreb, Pacos de Ferreira, Mura and Vitesse have provided fans with nothing but heartbreak on their European tours.
Antonio Conte and his weakened side, without Dejan Kulusevski and Lucas Moura, will aim to take a big step towards the knockout stages. Ending their poor away form in Europe could prove beneficial if they want to go far in the Champions League, as well as giving a needed confidence boost before facing Brighton.
All Spurs’ right wing-backs will be fighting for their place in the side in the coming weeks, with fixtures coming thick and fast. Will Antonio Conte give a long awaited opportunity to Spence and Doherty, or will make adjustments whilst Emerson Royal sees out his suspension?