Hugo Lloris: I was always confident I would play for Spurs in the Champions League
Captain Hugo Lloris says he has always been confident he would play for Tottenham in the Champions League – and he has credited head coach Mauricio Pochettino for the club’s success this season.
Spurs have already banked a top-four spot and look set to secure a top-three finish which would book a place in next season’s Champions League group stage, avoiding the need for a qualifying round.
And Lloris, who arrived in north London in the summer of 2012, insists he always believed he would get the chance to represent Tottenham in Europe’s elite club competition.
“That’s why I’m still here,” said the skipper. “Of course it’s difficult to get the Champions League qualification in the Premier League. I think it’s the most competitive league in the world.
“You can see Chelsea, with their position, and Manchester United – still in the race but they’re struggling – but you can see as well some teams like Leicester and us [up at the top]. We have shown different skills maybe.
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“It’s easier to speak about us because I’m at the training ground every day and I can see our responsibility or commitment every day. It’s a good feeling and now it’s important to secure the second place.
“Of course we will be very excited to play in the Champions League. For the whole team it will be the first time together and in each competition when you are involved, you want to present the best image of your club.
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“We can see that step by step we are improving and we start to become a really good team with a really positive energy on the field, and I think we are very competitive – more than in the past because there is a real belief inside the squad and in the team, and we just need to carry on.”
Lloris added: “I think the credit is for the gaffer (Pochettino) because he brought a lot of energy in our young squad.
“He has created the right atmosphere and with the spirit we can achieve great things for the future.
“This season our expectation was a bit lower than what we’ve achieved and we can be proud of that.
“It’s important to finish second because it means a lot to us and for our fans – and we can also congratulate Leicester because they have had a fantastic season and they made their dream real. In football sometimes it happens, that kind of story, and you have to congratulate them.”
Pochettino surprised his players, as well as members of Tottenham’s staff, last Friday when he announced he had verbally agreed a two-year contract extension, and Lloris said: “It’s great news for the players, for the fans, for the club, because he’s the right man.
“He’s brought a lot to the club and of course he’s a great manager and that’s a great signal for the future of Tottenham.”
Midfielder Ryan Mason is also delighted, adding: “We’re proud of what he (Pochettino) has done for this club.
“I think you could see against Chelsea that we’re all together. That’s not just the team that’s on the pitch, it’s the management staff and backroom staff and everyone. It’s good to be part of at the minute and hopefully that can continue.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs