Spurs captain Lloris: We must ask the right questions after West Ham defeat

Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (pic Adam Davy/PA)

Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (pic Adam Davy/PA) - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

French keeper disappointed by London Stadium loss

Captain Hugo Lloris is disappointed that Tottenham failed to raise their game at West Ham and says the squad must ask themselves “the right questions” about their mentality.

Spurs had the opportunity to move one point behind leaders Chelsea in the Premier League title race last night but an unusually flat performance resulted in a 1-0 defeat at the London Stadium.

Antonio Conte’s pacesetters can now secure the crown by winning two of their final four games – and they face Middlesbrough and West Brom before Tottenham are next in action.

Lloris’ biggest gripe is his team-mates seemed to feel that, when the game was goalless, the crucial breakthrough would arrive by itself, without extra effort.

“I’m very gutted, in the way we played especially,” he said. “It was not enough. It’s difficult to accept that at this moment of the season – a very important moment - and especially in a derby game. We need to ask ourselves the right questions and try to understand what happened.

“In football, things don’t happen naturally, you need to go and get it. When you have the chance and the opportunity is there, you need to get it, and this time we were not capable of increasing the level collectively.

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“At this stage of the season it’s the same for every team – we’re all tired physically, mentally. The difference is mental. You have to go on the pitch and get the result that you need.

“We were not capable of doing more and the worst thing was the feeling at 0-0. It was like we said ‘maybe it’s enough, maybe we’ll get the goal that we need’. But no, that’s not the way you need to think in that kind of context.

“You need to do more, to push to your limit, and unfortunately we were not capable of doing that.”

While the overwhelming feeling in the Tottenham camp last night was one of disappointment and frustration, Lloris feels it is important to consider the bigger picture.

Spurs have been the sole challengers to Chelsea at the top of the table, and they gradually ate into the Blues’ lead by winning nine successive top-flight fixtures before ultimately succumbing at West Ham.

“We shouldn’t forget what we’ve done until now,” he added. “This team pushed a lot and it demands a lot of energy.

“You shouldn’t forget the context. Chelsea has been the leader for a while, they’ve been 10 or 12 points ahead, and we’ve tried step by step to come closer and closer. But one time an accident can happen.

“We knew before this game and we’ve known for a few weeks now that we’re not allowed to slip. It happened this time and unfortunately it cost a lot.”

When Spurs’ title bid ended at Stamford Bridge last May they went on to lose their final two games of the season, suffering a 1-0 home defeat against Southampton and then a 5-1 loss at Newcastle, who had already been relegated.

Given they probably only need one point from their remaining three matches to secure the runner-up spot, due to their superior goal difference, there is perhaps a danger that history could repeat itself now.

However, Tottenham have a big day ahead next Sunday as they host Manchester United in the last-ever match at White Hart Lane.

Spurs are one game away from finishing the campaign with an unbeaten home record, and Lloris said: “My words didn’t change even after this game - try to be focused on yourself, try to finish the job.

“There are three games left, one very important one next week for the club, for the fans, against a big opponent, a massive club.

“The fans deserve a lot and we need to bounce back, keep pushing up and play with pride. When you cannot get first place, you need to make sure to secure second place, and it will already be a success for Tottenham.

“Of course it will be a special moment [to lead the team out next week], with a lot of emotion, and even more for the fans who used to come to the stadium for ages.

“We have one week to prepare well for this game, put in the right energy and try to finish unbeaten at home. We need to get everything that is possible until the end.”