Hugo Lloris: Draw at Man City shows Spurs have a new mentality and resolve
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Captain Hugo Lloris says Tottenham’s 2-2 draw at Manchester City shows the progress they have made, stating that in previous seasons the Lilywhites would have succumbed to a heavy defeat against Pep Guardiola’s side.
Lloris was a member of the Spurs teams that lost 6-0 and 4-1 at the Etihad Stadium in 2013 and 2014 – results which sandwiched a 5-1 reverse against the same opponents at White Hart Lane.
Another thrashing looked possible in Saturday’s latest showdown in Manchester. Having survived a first-half onslaught, Tottenham conceded twice in the opening 10 minutes of the second period, and it seemed their evening was only going to get worse.
However, Dele Alli and substitute Heung-Min Son scored with Spurs’ only efforts on target in the match and Mauricio Pochettino’s men grabbed a valuable point.
“We talked with each other at the end of the game and it’s a big change from the past,” said Lloris. “Maybe three years ago we would have lost and suffered a bad defeat, especially after going 2-0 down.
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“The first goal we conceded was a bit unlucky, the second one was a mistake - my personal mistake - and maybe we would have given up. But not any more.
“In the last two or three seasons we’ve changed our mentality and we’ve shown it here. Even on a bad day, it’s a great point.
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“We were aware of Liverpool’s result (a 3-2 loss at home against Swansea) before the game. Of course that was good for us and it was a chance to make up points.
“But we are more focused on ourselves. The most important thing is that we didn’t lose against one of the challengers for the top four.”
Lloris had a nightmare five-minute spell when City established their two-goal lead, first failing to cut out a long ball with an attempted header and gifting Leroy Sane an open goal and then fumbling a routine low cross, allowing Kevin De Bruyne to finish at close range.
However, the Frenchman feels he showed his own mental strength in the following 40 minutes – and the skipper’s willingness to discuss his personal performance after the match also displayed his character.
“We’re in a position where a little mistake that can have a big consequence, like in this game,” said Lloris. “It’s not my first time and it will not be my last time. This is the responsibility of the keeper.
“But even after 2-0 down, I think I was still in the game. I was still alive, like my team-mates, and I feel much better because we got a point at the end.
“If we’d lost then my feeling would have been different, but I’m very honest with myself. I don’t allow myself to make mistakes and I will try to do better the next time.”
Lloris was involved in a crucial and controversial moment when Raheem Sterling went clean through on goal in the second half, seeking to end Spurs’ resistance and put his side 3-1 up.
The City winger was pushed by Spurs right-back Kyle Walker, but he sportingly stayed on his feet and, off-balance, prodded the ball straight at Lloris.
“It’s part of the game,” said Tottenham’s goalkeeper. “They wanted to score the third goal, we needed the second and maybe it was fair play.
“He (Sterling) tried to keep his action, keep his feet and in the end I made a good decision to stay in my goal, because if I tried to go low at his feet he probably would have scored. It’s one factor in the game.
“Facing City away, they probably played their best game of the season so it’s a very good point. But of course we’re able to do better with the ball and without the ball.”
Harry Kane concurred, saying: “It was one of our worst performances of the season so to come away to City, play badly, go 2-0 down and come away with a point shows how far we’ve come.
“We were just off it, off the pace. I don’t know why we played poorly. City came with a game plan to press and we were a bit slow on the ball, a bit slow pressing and it was down to the players. There are no excuses from anyone.
“But we managed to grind out a result and get something from it, which is always important. You can never play perfectly in football and we got something from it.
“The character speaks for itself. We were 2-0 down, not playing well but then found another couple of gears. It was a great ball by Walks (Walker) for Dele’s first goal and then some neat play for the second goal.
“It was one of those days and then when it goes to 2-2, we fancied our chances - but then they had some as well so all in all we’re happy with a point.
“A few seasons ago it probably would have gone 3-0 and 4-0 and that would have been that - but we dug deep. We know it wasn’t a good performance but we dug deep and came away with something.”
Kane was keen to defend Lloris, stating: “Hugo, for me, has been outstanding all season. He’s one of the best keepers in the world and, that said, you have days when you’re not always on it.
“He kept us in it in the first half, made some fantastic saves and then we bounced back like we needed to.
“We’re one point better off than we were at the beginning of the game and that’s how we have to look at it.
“I think it will remain tight for the rest of the season. We can’t control what Chelsea do, it all depends on them, but they’ve got a hard game at Liverpool [on January 31] and there’s going to be teams dropping points all season.”
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