Jean Tigana explained why he had picked a half-strength Fulham side after their 2-1 Worthington Cup defeat to Tottenham at Craven Cottage.
Goals by Sergei Rebrov and Simon Davies took Spurs to a home quarter-final tie against Bolton.
Tigana made six changes to his side and, while Barry Hayles equalised on the stroke of half time, they ultimately paid the price for fielding a weakened team.
"I kept people out for our game against Leeds on Sunday," said Tigana.
"For me, that is a bigger game. We have one day less to prepare for a game against Leeds, and Sunday is a very important game."