Tottenham manager Nuno Espirito Santo has explained his decision to leave Dele Alli and Harry Winks out of the squad which faced Burnley on Wednesday night in the Carabao Cup.

Spurs progressed to the quarter-finals of the competition with a 1-0 win courtesy of Lucas Moura’s second-half header at Turf Moor.

But while the result was positive for Nuno, who came into the game under intense pressure following successive 1-0 defeats, two players were conspicuous by their absence.

Both Dele and Winks have been struggling for game time recently and did not travel up to Lancashire for the cup tie.

Nuno Espirito Santo opted not to take Dele Alli or Harry Winks to Burnley (


James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images)

Dele’s future at Spurs was then cast into doubt when he was not included as part of the travelling squad for the match.

Nuno kept his cards close to his chest during his post-match media duties, but the situation could prove to be an unwanted distraction ahead of Saturday’s crunch Premier League game against Manchester United.

"They are our players, we continue to focus on getting the best out of each of our players,” he said.

“Dele is one of the cases we have to try and improve.

"We have a training session tomorrow and we will assess all the players like we always do.

"They are our players so anything is possible, this is my answer."

In a game of few chances, it was Lucas who provided the telling contribution when he headed past Nick Pope from Emerson Royal’s cross.

Lucas Moura was Tottenham's match-winner at Burnley (


Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Burnley mustered just one shot on target against Pierluigi Gollini and Nuno was happy with what he saw from his side.

“It was a good performance. I think we played good, in control of the game [and] possession," he said.

“We knew the task ahead of us with the way Burnley play. It's very tough as they are very good. Defensively we were spot on and we really did a good job of controlling how they play.

“I think we were better in the second-half. Good possession but not finishing [our chances], better in the second-half in terms of mobility and dynamic. The end of the match was about defending - sticking together and defending. It's good for the team.

“We know that games require suffering and unity. We must congratulate the players today because they did a good job.

“We came here to go through - we did it in a good way. It was a good win so let's see the draw and focus on the next one."

Tottenham host United on Saturday in what promises to be a huge match for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer following last weekend’s 5-0 thrashing by Liverpool.

Despite losing three of their previous five league matches, Spurs are sixth, a point ahead of United, who are winless in four in the Premier League.

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