Antonio Conte suggested Tanguy Ndombele needs to improve on the pitch to get Tottenham fans back on side after the midfielder was loudly booed during the FA Cup third-round win over Morecambe.
Ndombele has struggled to make an impact since joining Spurs in a £55m deal in the summer of 2019.
He was handed a starting spot against League One strugglers Morecambe but again failed to impress and was part of a triple change made by Spurs boss Conte on the hour mark with his side trailing 1-0.
Ndombele incurred the wrath of the crowd by showing no urgency to get off the pitch, slowly walking off from the other side and then heading straight down the tunnel as he was being booed.
Asked about the crowd reaction to Ndombele after Spurs eventually won 3-1, Conte said: “I was so focused on the pitch and in football you have to be good to try to change the opinion if someone is disappointed with you.
“It happened to me as well as a player with someone being disappointed in my performance.
“I think during the game you have to try the best solution to find something, especially I’m seeing that we are losing 1-0 and you have to try to change something.
“Especially when you have on the bench, players of top level. I decided to give a bit of a rest to Lucas (Moura) and (Harry) Kane, but if you can change the situation and you have this type of player.”
Having fallen behind after 33 minutes, Spurs needed a late show to book their place in the fourth round.
Goals from Harry Winks and substitutes Lucas Moura and Harry Kane earned them the victory.
“For a big part of the game we struggled,” said Conte.
“We had to score and had the opportunity to score very soon. Then when you concede a goal in a set-piece, for sure, the mood and your opponent start to feel that they can beat you.
“We always struggled to be creative and in the end we have to be disappointed because we can do much better.”
Conte also revealed Eric Dier missed out with a minor injury and Sergio Reguilon was rested.
Spurs face a home match against Brighton in the fourth round.