Antonio Conte’s first Europa Conference League travelling squad as Tottenham Hotspur boss reveals a very different approach to his predecessor.
The Italian has been preparing for his fourth match as Spurs boss this week with the squad flying out to Maribor in Slovenia to face NS Mura in Group G.
Conte’s predecessor Nuno Espirito Santo had a certain approach with away games in the competition, deciding on large scale rotation and also taking a number of younger academy players to fill out the bench.
On a couple of occasions the Portuguese would actually leave his assistant manager Ian Cathro back at Tottenham’s Hotspur Way training complex to coach the starting XI that he intended to select for the upcoming Premier League game that weekend.
That approach brought very little success in the away European games with the players lacking cohesion and losing 1-0 at Pacos de Ferreira in the play-off round, drawing 2-2 at Rennes which required Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to come on and rescue a point and then they lost 1-0 at Vitesse.
Conte has clearly decided that with two matches remaining to ensure Spurs rise up to top the group and avoid an extra play-off round, there’s no time left to take chances.
football.london understands that Conte’s travelling squad resembles his Premier League ones and is a full strength one.
Despite the likes of Dilan Markanday, Jack Clarke and Brooklyn Lyons-Foster training with the first team on Wednesday, the squad is believed to contain none of the development squad players, with 20-year-old Bryan Gil the youngest travelling player alongside 21-year-olds Oliver Skipp and Ryan Sessegnon.
Steven Bergwijn has not made the trip to Slovenia after reporting ill on Wednesday morning, meaning he did not train with the team at Hotspur Way that day.
Argentines Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso remain out with injury, as does young striker Dane Scarlett.
Conte is expected to rotate his squad, but with five substitutions allowed he will have plenty of his big names to call upon, either from the start or throughout the game he has the firepower.
“All the players available will come with us. They must be ready to play against Mura,” Conte said on Wednesday. “I said on Sunday that I need to make rotation because there are players that are a bit tired because played many games with the national team and also we worked a lot in the last two weeks.
“There are other players that need game time. For us this competition is important. We want to take it seriously this fixture and we want to go through to the next step.
“For sure I will make the rotation because personally I need to know much better the players because there are players I need to see them during a game and a competition.”
Conte will be expecting his players to show them what they can do for him ahead of a busy run of fixtures and with the big names ready to play, he will be demanding no slip-ups in Slovenia.