Hugo Lloris tells Spurs to be ready for ‘final sprint’ in Premier League after disappointing Manchester United defeat
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Captain calls on team-mates to remain clam despite two defeats in a row and to bounce back at home to Real Madrid on Wednesday
Hugo Lloris says Tottenham Hotspur should not be too despondent about the growing gap to league leaders Manchester City at this relatively early stage, and must just ensure they are still in the title fight in March.
Spurs lost 1-0 at Manchester United on Saturday and, a little while later, Man City picked up their ninth victory from their opening 10 top-flight fixtures as they beat West Bromwich Albion 3-2.
With 28 points on the board already and a goal difference of +29, Pep Guardiola’s pacesetters have made the best ever start to a Premier League campaign.
But Tottenham skipper Lloris believes the picture could look very different in four months’ time.
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“Before, even now, we don’t really talk about the title,” he said. “The target is to be as consistent as possible, to stay at the top of the table, ready to fight. The season is still long.
“City have a good advantage at the moment but every team is going to have their momentum and their bad moment too, so we just need to be consistent and be ready in the final sprint in March and April.”
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Tottenham appeared to be heading for a point against Man United on Saturday, only to concede an 81st-minute winner from a David de Gea long ball as Romelu Lukaku flicked the ball on and Anthony Martial ran in behind to score.
Spurs have now lost at Old Trafford in each of the last four seasons, and Lloris said: “To lose this game in that way, in that type of action, makes us very disappointed because from a long kick from their keeper we should have been more organised.
“We were late [to get organised] at the beginning and we finished late because of our positions. I don’t think we played a great game in possession.
“I think we were great in the challenges and with the spirit - it was a big, big battle - but then we should have done a bit better with the ball at our feet.
“That wasn’t easy because the opponent pressed a lot and they were very aggressive, but to lose the game on the basics is very frustrating and we need to learn about that.
“In that kind of game it’s about details. The season is very long and it’s not only about this game or another, it’s about being as consistent as possible.
“But it’s true when you play against another challenger you need to be at your best and try to get the minimum. The minimum this time was a draw and I think we could have deserved this one, but we’ve made collective mistakes on this long ball and the price is a lot.”
Having also lost their previous match against West Ham in the League Cup, Spurs will be seeking to avoid a third successive defeat when they host reigning European champions Real Madrid at Wembley on Wednesday.
“It’s true, it’s two defeats in a row and it’s not a good feeling,” said Lloris. “It’s a moment to stay calm, stay confident and talk to each other to digest this game.
“In terms of performance we cannot compare this game and the West Ham game, especially the second half against West Ham - it wasn’t about football, it was more about behaviour.
“[Against United] the behaviour was great, we had a great spirit, but it’s about details and those kinds of detail turned in their side this time. It’s important to stay calm and prepare for Wednesday as well as possible.”