Lloris: Tottenham must take cups seriously
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Captain focused on knockout campaigns
Captain Hugo Lloris believes Tottenham should be taking the Europa League and FA Cup seriously as the Lilywhites prepare to face Gent and Fulham this week.
Spurs slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Liverpool on Saturday following a poor performance, and Chelsea are now 10 points clear of them at the top of the Premier League table.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side find themselves looking over their shoulder instead, with Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United all lying within two points of them and two of the top six sides will miss out on Champions League qualification.
However, Tottenham’s league campaign is now on pause for a fortnight and Pochettino’s men are switching their attention to the quest for silverware in the cup competitions.
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Spurs will visit Belgian side Gent in the last 32 of the Europa League on Thursday, before making the rather shorter trip across the capital to take on Championship outfit Fulham in the fifth round of the FA Cup on Sunday.
“Chelsea are in a comfortable situation but we still need to fight for the top four,” said Lloris.
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“We have a lot to win – to put this club consistently in the top four, and there are two more opportunities with the FA Cup and Europa League.
“I think we need to have ambitions in both competitions because it’s important to feel this pressure. We are young and we need to feel the pressure of the big games to improve, to make one step more.
“We have plenty of young players with a lot of talent of course. But you need to live situations, to face situations.
“The Europa League is a top competition. We would have preferred the Champions League but we need to enjoy this competition because we have a status - we are Tottenham, and we need to show that in every competition we are involved in.”
Lloris feels Tottenham’s lack of big-match experience was a factor in their defeat at Liverpool, as Sadio Mane scored both of the home side’s goals inside the opening 18 minutes.
“We need to learn about this game,” added Lloris. “There are a lot of things, especially the first half.
“My feeling is it’s not the first time we started the first half in this way, especially away – like at Manchester City or even Man United. We have done well [against the big teams] at White Hart Lane, and we need to keep that and improve a bit our away performances.
“Before thinking about the title we need to think about the teams behind us because they are all top clubs with top players and they are used to playing for the top four, for trophies.
“They have maybe more experience than us. Even if we had a good experience last season with the title race, it’s not enough.
“All the players talk about [winning trophies] in the media. Of course this is the next step for our young team but you cannot buy experience. You need to face that kind of situation to improve.”
Lloris also believes Spurs were missing simple things like work-rate and competitiveness against Liverpool.
“In general in the changing room it was a big silence, it was a big disappointment,” he said. “We expected more from our performance because it was too poor in the first half to pretend to get something at Anfield.
“Liverpool were much better, especially in the first half. They put in more intensity, they were more aggressive than us. They won the game on the basics of football.
“It’s not about tactics, about technique. They were more hungry than us and we knew [what to expect], because it’s always the same with Liverpool, especially at Anfield.
“Against the top teams they play at a high intensity, they put on a lot of pressure in the middle of the pitch. But we failed all together. It’s not one area or one player. It’s the whole team unfortunately and we need to learn from this game. It’s difficult to explain, honestly, and we need to question ourselves about that.
“The season is still long, there are plenty of games ahead but we cannot fail in that kind of area of the game. The aggression has to be natural, especially for top games like this one.”