Tottenham boss Antonio Conte has defended his decision to rest Hugo Lloris and start Pierluigi Gollini for Tottenham’s defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday.
Back-up keeper Gollini did well to keep out an early shot from Romelu Lukaku, but he was at fault when Antonio Rudiger headed home after 18 minutes.
That proved to be the only goal of the EFL Cup semi-final second leg, meaning a straightforward 3-0 aggregate victory for Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea.
Conte raised eyebrows by leaving out experienced stopper and captain Lloris, but the Italian felt Gollini – who has featured 10 times for Spurs this term – deserved to start.
“Before my arrival at Tottenham, Pierluigi has always played in Carabao and the Conference League,” Conte said.
“I think when you’re in a team like Tottenham, it’s important to give chances to the keeper because Pierluigi has shown to be reliable.
“Then we have to play three games in seven days against Arsenal, Leicester and Chelsea again.
“I think he deserved this chance to play an important game. I think that Gollini played a good game.
“In the first game we lost 2-0, today we lost only 1-0. I think that we have to try to think about situations that are much more important than this. Believe me.”
Gollini joined Spurs from Atalanta on an initial season-long loan last July and has conceded 11 goals in his 10 outings in all competitions to date.
In his four domestic cup appearances, Gollini has a save-percentage of 60, which compares to 71.6 for Lloris across 20 Premier League matches this season.
Following their defeat on Wednesday, Tottenham have now lost all three of their matches against Chelsea this season by an aggregate score of 6-0.
Not since 2013-14, against Arsenal, have they lost three times to a team in a single season without scoring, and Conte accepts his side did not deserve to advance to Wembley.
“The first half we struggled a bit, especially the way to try to bring pressure without the ball,” Conte said. “In the second half the performance was good, the intensity was high.
“I think we deserved a better final result today. But I think after two games Chelsea deserved to reach the final in this competition.”
Chelsea have now been responsible for 24 per cent of Spurs’ defeats at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium (4/17), with the Lilywhites winless in all five meetings at the venue.
Reflecting on a chastening defeat against his former side, Conte added: “In this moment we cannot compare Chelsea with Tottenham.”