says was taken off because of ‘fatigue’ after Tottenham crashed out of the EFL Cup at the first hurdle.
Spurs suffered a 2-0 defeat to Nottingham Forest in their third round clash On Wednesday with scoring once and providing the assist for the other at the City Ground.
Conte resisted the urge to make major changes and fielded a strong side that included England captain Kane.
His inclusion from the start raised eyebrows with set to name his England squad for the World Cup in Qatar on Thursday.
Kane was replaced after 59 minutes by Bryan Gil, with Richarlison also coming on to replace Ivan Perisic as Spurs fought to claw their way back into the game.
Explaining his decision to replace the striker, Conte admitted his talisman was ‘really tired’ heading into the game but has no major concerns over his fitness.
‘He was tired. Really really tired,’ Conte said post-match. ‘Yesterday we had a soft training session and at one point he stopped himself to recover energy. He’s ok, it’s only fatigue and that’s normal.’
With the World Cup underway in 11 days, Conte hailed members of his side for remaining focused on club matters, dismissing the possibility of some saving themselves for Qatar.
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‘I have a group of players who are first men and then good players,’ Conte said.
‘Another could be selfish to think to himself “in a week I have to play the World Cup”. Instead Harry Kane showed to be a really good man.
‘Not only him though, the same for [Rodrigo] Bentancur, Perisic and [Eric] Dier is another player who has played a lot of games.
‘We faced a situation that is really bad with the injuries. We arrived at the end in real difficulty. Now we have to try to rest and find energy.’
Tottenham welcome Leeds to north London on Saturday afternoon and will keep their place in the top four heading into the World Cup break regardless of the result, thanks to their vastly superior goal difference over Manchester United who sit three points behind in fifth.
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