Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris hail influence of Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Fernando Llorente
PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 January 2018
PA Wire/PA Images
The experienced forward netted his second goal for the club during the 2-0 win at Swansea City after moving to London from the Welsh club last summer
Jan Vertonghen and Hugo Lloris were full of praise for Fernando Llorente after Tottenham Hotspur’s deputy striker seized his opportunity to lead the line and scored on his return to Swansea City on Tuesday.
Harry Kane has been in stunning form for Spurs, scoring six goals in two games against Burnley and Southampton at the end of 2017.
But, after falling ill at the end of last week, the 24-year-old was given a rest at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium, watching the first 68 minutes from the bench.
That gave summer signing Llorente a chance to shine on his old stomping ground, against his former club, and it took the 32-year-old just 12 minutes to break the deadlock en route to a 2-0 victory.
“He’s important for us,” said Vertonghen. “He’s definitely a very calm player, whatever the reason is.
“We need players to step up. Harry normally does his role, and then we need other players to step up. Fernando’s one of them, and he did well.”
Lloris added: “First of all, in terms of spirit Fernando is fantastic. He’s always positive and always ready to work hard, to help the team.
“It’s true that it’s not easy to be behind Harry Kane but he made a very good performance. He was very useful with his back to the goal and in the way he played, with one and two touches.
“With his ability he makes the movement around him easier for offensive players, and he deserved this goal because he’s important for the team.”
Llorente headed home from a Christian Eriksen free kick – a repeat of Kane’s opener in the 5-2 win over Southampton on Boxing Day – and Lloris is keen to see that trend continue.
“We can even be more pleased because we scored from a set piece again,” said the captain. “We know the importance of that.
“We must score more goals from set pieces because we have the quality for the delivery and we have the size in the box too, with tall players.
“Then it’s true that, at 1-0 up, we should have scored a second goal [earlier] because we had a few chances. They let us play in the way we wanted and we should have been a bit more killer. But there’s nothing to regret because we won.”
Tottenham and Swansea had to battle particularly difficult conditions in the first half of Tuesday’s contest, with strong winds and rain severely limiting the quality on display.
“It was a little bit like the semi-final of the League Cup against Sheffield United (in January 2015),” said Vertonghen. “It reminded me a bit of that.
“It’s been a while since it’s been like that but it’s the same amount of points – you need to win them. I don’t think you can play pretty in these conditions but we got the job done.”
Lloris added: “To be honest, in the first half it was difficult for me to see the ball in the opposite half.
“But in that kind of context you just need to stay positive, to keep it with a smile - and in the end we are very pleased, especially for the fans who travelled, who were in the stand in those conditions.”
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