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Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo insists he has no regrets over late substitutions in West Ham defeat

·3-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Nuno Espirito Santo admitted Sunday’s defeat at West Ham "hurt" but insisted Tottenham were the better side.

Spurs suffered a fourth London derby defeat under Nuno this season, going down 1-0 to Michail Antonio’s 71st-minute strike.

The striker got in front of Harry Kane to poke home Aaron Cresswell’s corner and earn a deserved win for West Ham, who were the more threatening side in the second half following an even first half.

Spurs failed to muster a single shot after the interval, raising more questions about Nuno’s approach, particularly given the head coach rested his XI for the midweek defeat to Vitesse Arnhem in the Europa Conference League.

"It is always frustrating, a London derby that we know means a lot to our fans, means a lot to us and we were not able to win it," Nuno said afterwards. "I am disappointed because it hurts, I know it hurts."

Asked what went wrong, Nuno added: "The way we conceded, but apart from I think that we had a good game, we had possession we had control of the game, we created, besides the counter attacks of West Ham we didn’t allow many situations.

"We should be better in the offensive box, the chance to be aggressive in that moment of the game. This is my thought.

"West Ham defended in the box with a lot of men. There was not much space and we should’ve moved the ball faster and go to wide areas. But is always difficult when the team and all men are behind the ball, it is difficult to find spaces and gaps.

"There are not too many positives but when you lose a game like today that I believe we were better team, the only positive is feeling that there are aspects to improve that will guide us to winning more matches."

Kane tested Lukasz Fabianski with a firm header in the first half, while Heung-min Son also forced a save from the Polish goalkeeper.

Nuno rejected the suggestion that Spurs’ struggled to get the ball to their star strikers, insisting they did not lack midfield creativity.

"No, no, no. I think the team needs to be balanced, to be balanced in terms of the presence of the players," he said.

"Besides being good players they give us the balance the team needs. And we have enough creativity with our full-backs, our attackers. I don’t agree with you, I don’t agree with you."

Having not made a single substitute in the 3-2 win at Newcastle last weekend, Nuno did not make a change until the 84th minute, nearly a quarter of an hour after Antonio’s strike.

Late substitutes Bryan Gil, Steven Bergwijn and Giovani Lo Celso failed to make an impact on the game but Nuno said he had no regrets about not making changes sooner.

"No, I don’t regret it," he said. "The game like I said was under control. Changes are required when we think we should. The boys were playing good and then we made the changes in the moment that we felt that the team needed."

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