Burnley clash ‘a final’ says Nuno as Tottenham boss eyes improvements

Spurs’s progress under Nuno continued to falter with back-to-back defeats to Vitesse Arnhem and West Ham last week, leaving the head coach’s rotation policy under scrutiny.

Nuno’s side face the Clarets in the fourth round on Wednesday before Saturday’s clash with Manchester United, whose manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is also under intense pressure.

“The Carabao Cup is an important competition for us,” Nuno said.

“We have to go game-by-game and this game is a final. It’s a chance for us to improve our game, to compete well knowing that we have to manage some situations.

“We have players who need minutes, who deserve minutes, but it’s up to us to manage the situation of the players because what we want is to build a competitive team.

“We’re going to face a tough opponent, we know their characteristics – they are very physical, set-pieces, aggressive – but at the same time I think we are improving our game.

“The possession has been much better, the dynamics have been much better but they are details that we only can achieve during the competition, so it’s very important for us to improve in the match, doing the things that we want, the things that we prepare and putting it on the pitch.”

Nuno is expected to name a strong squad, likely to include Harry Kane, after leaving his first XI at home for the 1-0 reverse in the Netherlands on Thursday before his returning stars slumped to another loss to West Ham by the same scoreline.

Spurs do not travel to Turf Moor until Wednesday morning but the head coach is expected to use a mix of stars and squad players against Burnley, as he did in the last round against Wolves.

Pierluigi Gollini is expected to deputise for Hugo Lloris in goal while winger Bryan Gil is pushing for another start after a succession of lively cameos and Steven Bergwijn will be hoping for more minutes as he works his way back from injury.

Matt Doherty has returned to full fitness following an injury sustained on international duty but Ryan Sessegnon is still sidelined with a hamstring problem.

“He’s back in the group, that’s good news,” Nuno said of Doherty.

“He’s going to be in the squad, but it’s up to us to decide the right moment to integrate all the players. The only bad news that we have at this moment is Ryan Sessegnon, he’s not able to join us yet.”

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