Spurs’ second string have so often disappointed and they produced another forgettable display at the GelreDome, where Maximilian Wittek’s fine late volley proved the difference.
The result leaves their qualification for the Europa Conference League knockouts in doubt and raises further questions about the depth of Nuno’s squad, as his fringe players demonstrated why they are so far from playing in the Premier League.
The coach left his XI from the weekend’s win over Newcastle in London and the drop off from Harry Kane, Heung-min Son, Tanguy Ndombele et al was stark, although the 1,000 or so travelling Spurs fans could still have expected far more from their side which included nine full internationals and a wealth of European experience.
Nuno is in a difficult spot. His decision to fully rotate his side made sense and may still come to look justified at the London Stadium, but he is in danger of creating a two-tiered squad and a vicious cycle of underperformance.
While his fringe players underwhelmed, the display felt like a consequence of a lack of cohesion and confidence. Dele Alli, Harry Winks and Giovani Lo Celso, for example, just looked shot, constantly taking too many touches and struggling to build any sort of rhythm.
While Nuno continues to rotate his squad between the league and cup competitions, there is little chance of these players building up belief, fitness and momentum.
And yet what choice does he have given this display and the pressure to get results in the league?
The bottom line is that none of these players, with the possible exception of Joe Rodon, Japhet Tanganga and Bryan Gil, deserve more meaningful minutes but that is exactly what they need in order to improve.
Scarlett struggles to make an impression
Not for the first time, Dane Scarlett looked out of his depth in men’s football as he toiled against Vitesse’s three centre-backs.
The 17-year-old has outgrown youth football but shown little to suggest he is ready for the men’s game – at least at this level.
Nuno said before the match that he wanted Scarlett to hassle Vitesse No.10 Riechedly Bazoer, a rangy midfielder who dropped into the middle of the back three on the night.
Instead, it was Bazoer who easily marshalled and outmuscled Scarlett, leaving the youngster more than once on the deck and scrabbling back to his feet.
Scarlett, however, might have expected more in the way of service from an attacking four of Lo Celso, Steven Bergwijn, Dele Alli and Gil, who created nothing for the young forward. Spurs’ only good chance was a long-range effort from Gil, which struck the crossbar.
Plainly, Spurs need a more experienced back-up to Harry Kane in January if they have ambitions to make an impact outside of the Premier League, while perhaps an intelligent loan would accelerate Scarlett’s development.