Llorente demands improvement from Spurs after derby defeat
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The 34-year-old insists Tottenham Hotspur can win the Champions League, but not if they play like they did against West Ham
Fernando Llorente says Tottenham Hotspur’s defeat against West Ham United must serve as a wake-up call ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League semi-final, warning the Lilywhites will be beaten easily if they produce a similar performance against Ajax.
Mauricio Pochettino stressed the importance of Saturday’s derby ahead of the match, stating it would be “decisive and key in being in the top four” – but his side suffered their first home defeat at their new stadium with a 1-0 loss.
As Spurs now prepare to host Ajax in the first leg of their European duel, Llorente said: “This kind of game [on Tuesday] doesn’t need to be prepared because the mentality of all the players will be different, but I don’t think I can understand why the mentality of the team wasn’t ready to play against West Ham.
“Maybe, it’s better no? We need to wake up everyone because if we play like this on Tuesday we will lose easy.
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“Is this squad good enough to win the Champions League? If we play at the level we played against Manchester City [in the quarter-final] then we can do something, but if we play like Saturday, then for sure no.
“We didn’t play like all the fans deserved. We have to show more, because it was a derby and very important for the way to the Champions League. I don’t know why but we played bad and we need to improve if we want to beat Ajax.”
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Llorente had a frustrating first half to the season, making only one start and eight substitute appearances for Tottenham before January 1.
But he has had an impact while Harry Kane has been sidelined with two ankle injuries in the second half of the campaign, with the Spaniard contributing eight goals and five assists in total this term.
Indeed the decorated 34-year-old veteran, who has won the World Cup, the European Championship, two Italian league titles, the Europa League and played in a Champions League final with Juventus, memorably scored the goal against Man City at the Etihad which booked Spurs’ place in this week’s semi-finals.
“It was with my hip – my first one [like that] - but for sure it was the most important goal of my career,” said Llorente. “For me it’s unbelievable. It’s an amazing opportunity to give my best to help the team, to demonstrate I’m ready to help the team.
“It wasn’t easy [not playing] but I’m strong. I’m not a new or young player. I have experience and I always keep fighting and try to get my opportunities.
“Did I ever think I’d reach another Champions League semi-final? I always think each one can be the last one. For this thing I will fight as if it’s the last time.”